A boat owner who took his vessel into Fiordland with a dirty hull and with the pest seaweed Undaria pinnatifida (Undaria)on its hull faced a hefty fine in the Queenstown District Court this week.
Ian Clark plead guilty and was fined $5400 at the sentencing, which took place before Judge John Brandts-Giesen on Wednesday, for failing to comply with a Notice of Direction and failing to comply with Environment Southland’s Regional Pest Management Plan and Fiordland Marine Regional Pathway Management Plan.
Environment Southland biosecurity and biodiversity operations manager Ali Meade said the sentencing was a good reminder of the seriousness of the two plans and the importance of adhering to them.
“This sentencing is an important reminder for the public to clean their vessels and understand the rules. If you are going into Fiordland remember to have a current Clean Vessel Pass and ensure your hull and gear complies with the cleanliness standards,” she said.
In late October 2020 Mr Clark departed Bluff for Deep Cove on his vessel Reel Passion. A member of the public alerted Environment Southland that the Reel Passion had Undariagrowing on its hull before it departed Bluff for Deep Cove.
Under the pathway management plan vessels must ensure they have a clean hull before entering within one nautical mile of the landward boundary of the Fiordland Marine Area.
Divers inspected the hull of the vessel at its mooring in Deep Cove in November and confirmed the presence of the invasive seaweed, the hull was also non-compliant with the Clean Hull standards.
The council presented Mr Clark with a Notice of Direction to return the Reel Passion to Bluff by 7 December. He did not return the vessel to Bluff until 16 December.
“The judge’s decision should indicate to the public that if they were to engage in similar conduct they can expect to receive a significant fine. The judge made remarks in his decision indicating that he would expect the level of fines would increase in the event of similar offending,” Mrs Meade said.
“We would like to thank those who take the time to report sightings of pests and take the threat they pose seriously.”
Story: Environment Southland