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Talley’s Amaltal mulls appeal against guilty verdict

12th November 2020 By Staff Reporter | | @foodtickernz

Talley’s deep-water fishing division is considering an appeal against its conviction for illegal bottom trawling in a marine reserve.

The Amaltal Mariner was found to be trawling inside a marine. Image: Supplied

Nelson-based Amaltal Fishing Company was found guilty last week of taking fish from a Kaikōura marine reserve for commercial gain, but announced after the release of the judgment yesterday that it could appeal the decision.

Amaltal spokesperson Tony Hazlett said the company acted lawfully and liability for the actions of the skipper, who mistakenly acted against company policy, should not be attributed to the company.

He added that the skipper has apologised to both the company and the court for the mistake.

“Amaltal will likely appeal the judge’s ruling,” said Hazlett, adding that the company took the “sustainability of the marine environments where we fish seriously, and does not condone fishing in closed areas in any circumstances”.

“That is why we provide thorough training and in-depth ongoing instruction of skippers and crew. This is our responsibility, and we did this for this skipper.

“We provided him with all the resources and equipment necessary for fishing lawfully, including maritime charts, copies of fisheries laws, regulations, electronic navigation equipment and regular compliance training.”

The charges were brought by the Ministry of Primary Industries and related to an incident in March 2019 when the Amaltal Mariner was detected by MPI’s geospatial monitoring system trawling inside the Hikurangi Marine Reserve, which resulted in the catching of 104kg of fish.

The successful prosecution under the Marine Reserves Act 1971, ruled by Judge Reilly, was welcomed by Green Party MP Eugenie Sage, who said it demonstrated the need for increased fisheries enforcement and strong marine protected areas off NZ’s coasts.

“For too long big fishing companies have been allowed to plunder our waters with little consequence,” she said.

“[This] court ruling shows an increase in accountability and a potential shift from Fisheries NZ and MPI, who will hopefully continue to crack down on illegal and harmful behaviour such as fishing in marine protected areas.

“A stronger and broader approach to compliance, monitoring and enforcement to end poor behaviour by fishing vessels is something the Green Party has long called for.”

Sage added that alongside increased monitoring and enforcement of big fishing industry players when they break the rules, which necessitate cameras on boats, the Greens wanted to see law reform around marine protected areas.

The Amaltal Fishing Company was wholly owned by the Amaltal Corporation Ltd, which in turn was wholly owned by the Talley’s Group Ltd.



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