Importer fined for selling banned fishAn Auckland food import and wholesale business, Khan Brothers Distribution Limited, was convicted and fined  $60,000 in the Waitakere District Court in July for knowingly importing and selling a banned freshwater fish originating from Bangladesh.

South Auckland based import companies Khan Brothers Distribution Ltd and Khans Second Generation Ltd, and its two principals, were fined $60,000 for bringing a banned freshwater fish into the country, which they tried to hide by labelling it as Indian sardines.The company director, 38-year-old Mustafezur Rahman Khan, also known as John Khan, received six-months’ community detention, and 12-months supervision.

John Khan and Khan Brother’s Distribution Limited pleaded guilty to two charges, each relating to offences which occurred between December 10, 2017 and July 6, 2018. The offending involved $70,700 in sales and unaccounted for fish.

The court found Khan imported hilsa fish, a Bangladeshi freshwater species, contrary to the Biosecurity Act 1993.  

Khan falsely declared the fish were Sardinella longiceps (Indian sardines) in order to receive clearance for importation of 3,500kg of the illegal species. He sold the fish from December 2017 through to July 2018. 

MPI Director of Compliance Gary Orr said MPI takes any breach of New Zealand’s biosecurity very seriously.

“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 a MPI Biosecurity officer, who saw the fish being sold via Facebook.”

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

John 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 for selling hilsa fish from his shop. The Khans run their respective businesses from the same Supavalue food store in Otara.

– Ministry for Primary Industries