Black mar­ket busts

NZ Fishing News - - News - MPI

A Napier pair has be­come the sev­enth and eighth peo­ple sen­tenced on charges re­lated to the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries’ crack­down on black mar­ket fish­ing ac­tiv­ity in Hawkes Bay and Mahia last year.

War­ren Peter Hutch­ings, 45, un­em­ployed of West­shore, was sen­tenced to seven months’ home de­ten­tion and 150 hours com­mu­nity work on 17 charges of il­le­gally sell­ing fish.

Katie Marie Baker, 40, un­em­ployed of West­shore, was sen­tenced to three months’ home de­ten­tion and 75 hours com­mu­nity work on eight charges of aid­ing Mr Hutch­ings to il­le­gally sell fish and one charge of al­low­ing premises to be used for il­le­gally sell­ing fish.

The pair sold more than 500kg of paua (shell on) for $6225, and both ear­lier pleaded guilty to all charges in Napier District Court.

MPI planned ‘Op­er­a­tion River’ to tar­get black mar­ket ac­tiv­ity in the Hawkes Bay/mahia area, and used a spe­cial du­ties of­fi­cer who be­came in­volved in the il­le­gal trad­ing of fish.

The op­er­a­tion un­cov­ered il­le­gal trad­ing in 1.8 tonnes of paua (shell on) and 600 cray­fish, and fin­ished in Septem­ber last year, when fish­ery of­fi­cers ex­e­cuted 22 search war­rants across the re­gion.

Six other peo­ple have been dealt with by the court on charges of il­le­gally sell­ing fish from Op­er­a­tion River, re­ceiv­ing a range of sen­tences in­clud­ing prison, com­mu­nity de­ten­tion, com­mu­nity work, $15,000 in fines, for­fei­ture of ve­hi­cles and cell phones, and one ban from all fish­ing ac­tiv­ity.

Two peo­ple have been charged with il­le­gally sell­ing meat as part of Op­er­a­tion River, and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into re­lated ac­tiv­ity of a com­mer­cial fish­ing com­pany is on­go­ing. –

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