The three directors of Hawke's Bay Seafoods have been fined over $1 million dollars on charges relating to falsely recording and selling bluenose. The three directors of Hawke's Bay Seafoods, Antonio, Giancarlo, and Marcus Giuseppe D’Esposito were today fined a total of $1,086,673 at Wellington District Court. The defendants were also ordered to pay $418,500 in redemption fees for the return of four fishing vessels that were forfeited to the Crown after the offending.
The commercial seafood industry has welcomed the successful prosecution of the directors of Hawke's Bay Seafoods, stating that illegal behaviour will not be tolerated by the industry.
Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst has applauded the prosecution brought by the Ministry for Primary Industries and, at the sentencing, supplied a sworn affidavit to the court condemning the behaviour. In the affidavit, Pankhurst said there was no place in the industry for those who flout the system.
“We have a very clear code of conduct that states that illegal behaviour will not be tolerated. This is theft – both from the people of New Zealand and the quota holders.”
“The bluenose fishery this theft has been committed in has been in decline and the unrecorded catch left a big gap in attempts to accurately assess the biomass of the fishery. As an industry, we are collectively committed to transparency and doing the right thing. The actions by Hawke's Bay Seafoods undermine our efforts to be responsible guardians of the resource.”