16 Dec 2013

Fisherman jailed after covert operation

7:25 pm on 16 December 2013

A commercial fisherman has been sent to jail for two-and-a-half years for black market offending against the Fisheries Act.

Joung Oh Lee, known as James Lee, was sentenced on Monday in the Tauranga District Court on charges under the Fisheries Act relating to knowingly selling fish to obtain a benefit.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said the judge found Lee was the ring leader, had no remorse and was operating a business while bankrupt.

The ministry said it had been covertly monitoring a Tauranga-based commercial trawler being used at the time of the offences in 2011, as part of Operation Waterfowl.

About 13 tonnes of catch, mainly snapper, had been disposed of on the black market in Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland, it said.

Others have been also convicted as a result of Operation Waterfowl, including associated skipper Wayne Howell and Western Bay Seafoods Limited.