Hawke’s Bay Seafoods on trial over alleged under-reporting of catches

Dozens of fishing catch returns and other documents are alleged to have been falsified by Napier company Hawke’s Bay Seafoods, a judge has been told at the start of an expected four-month trial in the District Court at Wellington. The trial started before Judge Bill Hastings yesterday, with Ministry for Primary Industries prosecutor Stephanie Bishop saying there was deliberate and wide-reaching under-reporting of catches over about two years. Ms Bishop alleged offences were orchestrated “from the top” and the necessary skippers’ collusion was gained by cash payments and continued employment. Catches totalling up to 63 tonnes of bluenose and 3.5 tonnes of trumpeter were involved, motivated by a lack of catch entitlement and prospects of export market advantages. Charges involve mainly two types of offence, with false statements on catch-return records and selling fish not properly reported to MPI. click here to read the story 14:49