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Chinese fishing vessels fined $1m

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/06/2017

A Chinese commercial fishing company has been deregistered and fined close to $1 million for tuna-related offences just outside New Zealand waters.

The Da Yang 15 and Da Yang 16 were found to have misreported bluefin tuna catches and were fishing without a licence adjacent to the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), while fishing in an area between NZ and Fiji.

They were stung by Operation Zodiac, a joint Ministry for Primary Industries and New Zealand Defence Force high seas patrol in July last year.

The state the vessels are flagged is responsible for taking action against violators under international law, and Chinese authorities have now concluded their investigation and subsequent $825,000 fine, MPI says.

The two vessels were not only unlicensed, but misreported over 100 tonnes of southern bluefin tuna as another species.

It was the first time that genetic samples of fish had been taken during an at sea inspection, with subsequent genetic analysis confirming the fish were southern bluefin tuna and not bigeye tuna.

"As well as the company being fined and deregistered, the company's vessels have been permanently banned from all deep-sea fishing activities," MPI spokesman Gary Orr said.

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