The successful conviction today in the Wellington District Court of a commercial fisherman for under reporting shellfish catches has been commended by Seafood NZ.

Kevan Huia Clarke was convicted for not reporting 11 tonnes of paua and rock lobster worth nearly $900,000.

The Chatham Islander was sentenced to nine months of home detention, 200 hours of community service and had his vessel seized.

Chief Executive of Seafood NZ, Jeremy Helson praised the Ministry for Primary Industries compliance unit, led by Gary Orr, saying it was often difficult to get convictions in this type of case and their hard work was a good result for the industry and the fishery.

“We condemn any illegal behaviour and offending on a scale such as this can cause serious harm to our fishery. It undermines the good work we do in keeping our stocks healthy through the Quota Management System and we will not tolerate it.

“The penalty issued by the courts is also commensurate with the theft and we are grateful the judiciary is taking a hard line,” said Helson.