• Kyodo

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A Japanese fishing company has forfeited a $2.35 million trawler and a hoki catch worth $47,000 to the New Zealand government after being convicted Monday of fishing in an exclusion zone, New Zealand’s Fisheries Ministry said.

Capt. Kiyoshi Okaya of the Tomi Maru 86, owned by Kanai Fisheries, appeared in Christchurch District Court on four charges of fishing in a 25-nautical-mile Hoki breeding ground on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island in July and August last year, the ministry’s Serious Offenses Office manager Mike Green told Kyodo News.

The conviction of Kanai Fisheries is the ministry’s second successful prosecution of a Japanese company under an investigation code-named Operation Taurus, he said.

Anyo Fisheries was convicted of fishing in the same restricted area last October. It forfeited the $2.4 million Anyo Maru No. 8 and a catch worth $85,000.

Both companies were operating under charter agreements with New Zealand firms to fish hoki, also known as the blue hake or whiptail. The fish are valued for their white flesh.

The Anyo Maru was later returned to Anyo Fisheries after the company paid a redemption fee, Green said, adding that Kanai Fisheries has 30 days to apply for the return of its trawler.

Kanai Fisheries was also fined $6,119 and ordered to pay court costs, he said.

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