An Auckland food wholesaler and importer has been fined $60,000 for knowingly importing and selling banned fish, after a biosecurity officer saw the fish for sale on Facebook.
Khan Brother's Distribution Limited was convicted and fined on Wednesday in the Waitakere District Court. The company's director Mustafezur Rahman Khan, also known as John Khan, was given 6 months' community detention and 12 months' supervision.
The court found Khan imported Hilsa fish, a Bangladeshi freshwater fish, which can't be imported under New Zealand's biosecurity laws.
Khan falsely declared that the fish were Sardinella longiceps - Indian sardines - in order to receive clearance for the importation of 3500kg of the fish, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said in a statement on Thursday.
John Khan and Khan Brother's Distribution Limited pleaded guilty to two charges each related to offences which occurred between December 2017 and July 2018.
The offending involved $70,700 in sales and unaccounted fish, MPI said.
"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," said Gary Orr, MPI's director of compliance.
"The offending was detected by the good work of a MPI biosecurity officer, who saw the fish being sold via Facebook."
Earlier this year Khan's brother Moshiur Khan, known as George Khan, and his company Khan’s 2nd Generation Limited were also fined $10,000 each for selling hilsa fish.
The brothers were both selling the fish imported through their separate businesses from the same Supavalue food store in Otara, Auckland.