Sunday, May 19, 2024

Fish dealer fined over pāua paperwork

An Auckland fish dealer who failed to provide accurate sales records for pāua purchases has been fined $2,000 and ordered to perform 40 hours of community work.

Cheuk Kin Chung, 67, was sentenced in the Manukau District Council on one charge under the Fisheries Act (Recordkeeping Regulations 1990), following a successful prosecution by Fisheries New Zealand.                     

Mr Chung, who pleaded guilty to the charge, is a fish dealer and the sole director of New Silver Bell 2008 & 2013 Ltd.

During an inspection of his records by Fisheries New Zealand fishery officers in October 2022, they found 51 invoices that did not comply with regulations.

“Most seafood dealers take their record keeping seriously because they know that not having correct invoices undermines the traceability of the fish and casts suspicion as to whether it was legally caught,” says Fisheries New Zealand regional manager, fisheries compliance, Andre Espinoza.

Mr Chung told fishery officers he had been selling fish for more than 30 years. However, despite being educated and warned in the past by Fisheries New Zealand, he failed to follow his legal obligations which include evidence of the date of a transaction, the contact details of the person supplying the fish, along with the species, species state, weight, and price.

“The message to all fish dealers is simple – ensure your record keeping is accurate, because there are consequences. Traceability assures the buyer, they’ve purchased seafood from a legitimate dealer and Mr Chung compromised his reputation by failing to live up to these important checks and balances,” said Mr Espinoza.

MPI encourages people to report suspected illegal activity through the ministry’s 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 47 62 24).

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