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Fish dumping probe to be reviewed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/05/2016
The&nbsp;<span style="font-size:13px;">&nbsp;Ministry for Primary Industries ' handling of illegal fishing is under review.</span> © File photo The  Ministry for Primary Industries ' handling of illegal fishing is under review.

A Ministry for Primary Industries investigation into the possible illegal dumping of fish - and the subsequent decision not to prosecute - will be independently reviewed.

The announcement of the review comes after copies of a 2013 preliminary report, which revealed that the crew of some fishing boats were dumping between 20 and 100 per cent of their fish quota during every haul, were leaked to media.

Known as Operation Achilles, the compliance investigation was carried out in late 2012 and early 2013, and followed the trial of the installation of monitoring cameras on a number of fishing vessels operating out of South Island ports.

The report said crew members were dumping fish - and not recording it - despite the fact they knew they were being recorded on camera.

In a statement, MPI director general Martyn Dunne said the independent review would look into the circumstances surrounding Operation Achilles and the decision not to prosecute individuals potentially involved with the illegal dumping of fish.

"I place a high priority on the ministry having strong credibility with the public when it comes to our role as the regulator of fisheries in New Zealand and our role in holding people to account when illegal activity takes place," Mr Dunne said.

"The review will also consider matters relating to a report of a second investigation known as Operation Hippocamp. This investigation also examined matters in relation to potentially illegal fish discarding."

Each year MPI prosecutes in excess of 300 cases in the fisheries sector and issues over 3000 infringements.

Earlier this week, a new study was released that claimed the number of fish caught in New Zealand over the last 60 years has been grossly under-reported.

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