Amaltal’s Tony Hazlett said that since 2018, the company has invested significantly in additional electronic systems for monitoring the operation of its fishing vessels. It will continue to deliver on its responsibility to equip its captains and crew with the training, instruction and the best tools needed to operate the vessels according to the law.
On 28 February 2022, Nelson District Court Judge Ruth convicted a former captain of the Amaltal Apollo on charges of fishing in violation of a condition of a High Seas Permit, when he was master of the Amaltal Apollo in May 2018. On 4 March 2022, Judge Ruth found Amaltal guilty of the same charges.
Hazlett said the company’s liability arises from the company being vicariously and strictly liable for the activities of the captain, notwithstanding it had no knowledge of nor took any part in the offending.
“Amaltal didn’t direct, consent, agree or direct the captain to fish in a closed area,” said Hazlett. “The captain made an error, which the company was unaware of at the time. As soon as it was known, we acted immediately. The captain has also acknowledged and did not try to conceal his errors, and he and the company has co-operated fully with MPI in their investigation into the incident.
Hazlett said the area in which the vessel fished unintentionally in 2018 had previously been open to fishing and had been recently closed. At the time of the incident, there was also an MPI observer on board the Amaltal Apollo, who was also unaware that the area had been recently closed to fishing.
"Amaltal takes the sustainability of the marine environments where we fish very seriously, and does not condone illegal fishing in any circumstances,” he said.
Hazlett had no further comment.