A legal glitch means the Government may not be able to prosecute commercial fishing vessels for dumping fish even if they are caught on camera.Mr Guy said the Government and MPI were disappointed that no prosecutions were possible in relation to the fish-dumping.
The legal obstacles do not extend to the popular Snapper 1 fishery, where all commercial fisheries already have cameras installed.
In that fishery the ministry has signed a formal agreement which says that any video evidence can be used in court.
Operation Achilles also showed that two Hector’s Dolphins — a relative of the Maui’s Dolphin — were caught by one of the vessels.
One of the dolphin deaths was not reported.
The dolphin deaths have spurred international environmental groups to urge companies – including fast food giant McDonalds to stop sourcing fish from New Zealand.
Mr Guy dismissed the environmental campaign as ‘unfortunate’ and ‘full of rhetoric’.
Hoki fisheries – which supplied McDonalds and others – operated at different depths to the Hector’s and Maui’s and were unlikely to catch the dolphins he said.
The illegal activity reported in Operation Achilles was isolated and would not damage New Zealand’s reputation – Mr Guy said.