Four fishing officers from a Korean trawler have been fined nearly $425,000 for dumping low-value fish at sea in New Zealand waters.
The officers from the Oyang 75, a trawler owned by Seijo Oyang and chartered by another Korean company - Christchurch-based Southern Storm Fishing, were sentenced in Christchurch District Court on Friday.
The Indonesian crew members walked off the vessel at Lyttelton last year in protest at their cruel treatment and eventually gave evidence of the ship's shoddy and dishonest fishing.
The master Chong Pil Yun, 41, was fined $208,500, chief officer Minsu Park, 41, $121,000, deck bosun Wongeun Kang, 42, $60,000 and radio operator Juncheol Lee, 36, $35,000.
All were earlier found guilty of dumping hundreds of tonnes of fish at sea.
It was estimated the value of the fish, mainly hoki, was between $800,000-$1.4 million.
The master was also fined for trying to stop a fisheries observer reporting the dumping which took place between March and June last year.
Judge David Saunders said there was evidence of incompetence - at one stage the master did not know where he was on the ocean.
The officers have not returned to New Zealand. Under international law foreign fishing crew cannot be detained and because the penalties do not include prison sentences, they could not be extradited.
The government is seeking to have 68-metre Oyang 75, worth about $10 million, forfeited to it.
Factory manager Tae Won Jo, 51, also guilty of fishing offences, will be sentenced in November.
Peter Hyde, Canterbury/Westland compliance manager for Ministry of Primary Industries, says it was dismayed by the offending.
"There was a serious breach of trust in reporting catches of quota fish species which is very disappointing to see," said Mr Hyde.
"The dumping of damaged and small quota fish allowed the crew to maximise financial return through landing better quality, higher value fish."