Company charged with killing Canterbury eels pleads not guilty

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Christchurch,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 19 December 2018, 11:02a.m.
Nearly 2000 native eels were found dead along a 4km stretch of Belfast's Kaputone Creek, on the northern fringe of Christchurch, in April this year.
Nearly 2000 native eels were found dead along a 4km stretch of Belfast's Kaputone Creek, on the northern fringe of Christchurch, in April this year.

A nationwide shipping and cold-storage company that has admitted discharging ammonia near a Canterbury creek where hundreds of eels were found dead has today denied releasing ammonia gas into the air.

Nearly 2000 native eels were found dead along a 4km stretch of Belfast's Kaputone Creek, on the northern fringe of Christchurch, in April this year.

Environment Canterbury pursued charges under the Resource Management Act 1991 against Hastings-based Polarcold Stores Ltd - a nationwide cold-storage company - for illegally discharging a contaminant nearby on or about April 3.

The company earlier pleaded guilty at Christchurch District Court to discharging ammonia-contaminated water on to land near the stream.

However, the summary of facts has not yet been agreed on and it is not known if the company was responsible for causing the deaths of the eels. It could face a financial penalty of up to $600,000.

This morning, the company entered a not guilty plea in relation to a charge of releasing ammonia gas into the air.

Judge Jane Borthwick remanded Polarcold Stores to a case management review hearing on February 20.

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