When research conducted by Glenn Simmons reported that the New Zealand fishery catch was vastly underreported, the future sustainability of our fishery industry was said to be dependent on how the government addressed under-reporting of commercial catch and discards going forward.
On 18 May 2016 Newshub reported obtaining information that New Zealand fishing boats had been illegally dumping quota fish. The source was MPI reports into two MPI operations named Achilles and Hippocamp conducted in 2012 and 2013 – each of which was earlier referred to in the Simmons report. As a result, there was criticism of MPI’s decisions not to prosecute in these two operations.
On 19 May 2016 the MPI Director-General commissioned a review into the decisions made by MPI in respect to the two operations, and a third called Overdue. The review was into the circumstances around each operation, the appropriateness of any decision not to prosecute and the adequacy of MFish and MPI’s response.
Michael concluded that the decision not to prosecute was understandable in each instance, but that certain aspects of the decision-making processes needed to be considered further to ensure that the system was appropriately robust and able to respond to the challenges posed by under-reporting.