5 Dec 2011

MAF won't appeal customary fishing decision

6:51 am on 5 December 2011

The Ministry of Fisheries in Gisborne has decided not to appeal a judge's decision to dismiss charges laid under the Fisheries Act against two Gisborne men.

In March last year the two, a police sergeant and a businessman, were in a vehicle which fisheries officers stopped near Wainui beach north of Gisborne.

The officers found undersized paua and crayfish in the boot.

The ministry argued the men wrongfully used a customary fishing permit issued under Section 27A of the Act, to take the kaimoana for a traditional hui.

Judge Philip Connell found the ministry had not proved the charges.

Gisborne operations manager Tom Teneti says the decision throws up a number of issues which need further explanation.

He says fisheries officers rely on the judicial process for guidance and they need legal clarification as to what is and isn't a traditional hui.