A former Christchurch restaurateur has been fined $15,000 for his part in the black market seafood trade.

Courier driver Derek Yee, 57, acted as a middleman supplying crayfish and paua to two Canterbury seafood restaurants.

He got the black market seafood from another restaurant owner and a fisher, and then on-sold the products.

Yee admitted a charge of dealing in fish otherwise in accordance with the Fisheries Act 1996 when he appeared in the Christchurch District Court.


He was fined and sentenced to four months community detention and 100 hours of community work.

His courier van and mobile phone were also forfeited.Ministry for Primary Industries southern region investigations manager John Gibson said the ministry planned the operation after becoming aware that paua and rock lobster were being offered for sale on the black market to commercial outlets.

He said Yee had been inspected on many occasions by fisheries officers when he owned and operated a restaurant and knew that buying and on-selling black market fish was illegal.

"The sale of recreational catch means there is no limit as to what is taken and no effort is made to assist in maintaining the fishery. It takes away from what is a national and community owned resource," Mr Gibson said.

"This sort of offending hurts all of New Zealand."