Fisheries Act needs to be changed, says judge

National, Normal

The National, Monday July 8th, 2013

WAIGANI Committal Court principal magistrate Cosmas Bidar says the Fisheries Management Act needs to be amended to regulate consumption as well because the act only covers fishing, management and other related activities.

Making the comment in court last week, Bidar said section 3 and other related provisions of the Act only covered fishing, management and related activities but did not cover consumption.

He said that meant there was a loophole in the Act.

Bidar then freed a Singaporean, Chian Huan Choon, who had been charged with five counts of allegedly possessing sea cucumbers during the ban period and trading shark fins.

Choon, a resident of Badili, in the National Capital District, was charged after the authority obtained a search warrant.

The authorities reportedly confiscated 18kg of processed shark fins and two pieces of sea cucumbers.

Choon was alleged to have been involved in trading shark fins without a licence and in possession of sea cucumbers during the ban period and his actions amounted to offences under the Fisheries Management Act.

Choon denied the charges and the matter went to trial.

Bidar found that Choon had the shark fins for consumption and that did not require a licence.

On the charge in relation to being in possession of sea cucumbers, he found the prosecution had not established the case as he was not caught in possession of the sea cucumbers.

The sea cucumbers were found in a storeroom in a building used by many tenants, including the accused.

Bidar ruled Choon had no case to answer and dismissed the case.