18 Jun 2013

Officers charged for illegal fish dumping

3:47 pm on 18 June 2013

Three officers on a Korean-owned deep-sea trawler have been charged for illegally dumping fish in New Zealand waters in 2011.

The charges follow investigations into two fishing trips in South Island waters by the Melilla 201 for Christchurch-based company United Fisheries.

The captain, chief officer and factory manager on the vessel face charges of making false statements and illegally dumping fish.

Although United Fisheries chartered the trawler, it has been cleared of any wrong-doing.

The Ministry for Primary Industries seized the ship in May this year and negotiations are underway over how much the company will have to pay to get it back.

A spokesperson for the ministry says illegal dumping puts the sustainability of New Zealand's fisheries at risk and it will use all its resources to prosecute offenders.

The Melilla 201 crew members are due to give evidence in court on 1 July.