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New Zealand fines importer for selling banned Bangladeshi ilish

  • Published at 01:25 pm July 30th, 2020
web-Ilish fish
FILE PHOTO: Ilish production jumped from 300,000 tons in 2008-09 to 500,000 tons in 2017-18. In 2019, Ilish production rose to 533,000 tons Dhaka Tribune

The company imported ilish in violation of the country’s Biosecurity Act 1993

A food importer and wholesaler in New Zealand has been fined by $60,000 for knowingly importing and selling unauthorized Bangladeshi ilish.

The director of  Khan Brother's Distribution Limited Mustafezur Rahman Khan, also known as John Khan, received a six-month community detention and 12 months of supervision in an Auckland court on Wednesday.

Khan and his company pleaded guilty to two charges related to offences which occurred between December 2017 and July 2018. The offending involved $70,700 in sales and unaccounted for fish.

The company imported ilish in violation of the country’s Biosecurity Act 1993.

Biosecurity in New Zealand guards against “threats to agriculture and biodiversity with strict border control measures being taken to prevent unwanted organisms” from entering the country.

The Biosecurity Act 1993, which was a world first for biosecurity control, was passed to “restate and reform the law relating to the exclusion, eradication, and effective management of pests and unwanted organisms.”

Khan falsely declared that the fish were Sardinella longiceps (Indian sardines) in order to receive clearance for the importation of 3,500kg of the fish. 

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) director of compliance Gary Orr told New Zealand Herald that, MPI takes any breach of New Zealand's biosecurity very seriously especially given the fish was imported as a result of misleading information.

"Our biosecurity rules are there for a reason. Anyone bringing products into New Zealand has a responsibility to ensure they are not introducing things which could be potentially harmful.”

"The offending was detected by the good work of an MPI biosecurity officer, who saw the fish being sold via Facebook, " Orr added.

MPI took the prosecution following an investigation into Supavalue. This investigation resulted in another conviction earlier this year.

Khan's brother, 31-year-old Moshiur Khan, known as George Khan, and his company Khan's 2nd Generation Limited were convicted on related charges on January 15, 2020 and were each fined $10,000. George Khan was convicted of selling ilish from his shop.

The Khans are brothers and run their respective businesses from the same Supavalue food store in Otara, a suburb of South Auckland.

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