1 Dec 2011

MAF to study judgement in customary fishing case

7:30 am on 1 December 2011

The Ministry of Fisheries in Gisborne will be closely studying a judge's reasons for dismissing charges against a police sergeant and a businessman, before deciding on any course of action.

During a defended hearing, the prosecution argued the two men and a commercial crayfisher broke the law when they used a customary fishing permit to take undersized crayfish and paua.

Lawyer Morgan Dunn says the Fisheries Act states a permit can only be used to gather seafood for a traditional hui or tangi.

He says the kaimoana were for a function where no Maori protocol was observed and the permit itself wasn't correctly filled in.

On Tuesday, Judge Philip Connell found the ministry hadn't proved any charges against the businessman and the police sergeant but had proved two charges against the crayfisher.

MAF's field operations manager in Gisborne Tom Teneti says the way the judge came to his decisions could have implications for fisheries officers.