25 Feb 2006

Fiji judge fines ex-fisheries official for illegal fishing

11:06 am on 25 February 2006

A former Fiji government fisheries official has been fined US$18,000 for illegal fishing.

Fiji TV reports that the Suva High Court imposed the fine on Eseroma Ledua who now runs a fishing company.

Ledua had chartered the Taiwanese-owned fishing vessel, the Lian Chi Sheng, to fish for his company in 2004 when it was caught with a haul of sharks when it was only licensed to catch tuna.

Sentencing Ledua, High Court judge Justice Gerard Winter described his actions as inexcusable

Justice Winter said Ledua and his business partners were motivated by greed and showed disrespect for efforts by the authorities to retain fish stocks.

Justice Winter said Fiji's fisheries resources are precious and the authorities had gone to great lengths to amend legislation in order to conserve and manage depleting stocks.