Yellowtail fish at the 2 Oceans Aquarium. Febuary 3 2009. Photo by Michael Walker

The Emperor’s Kitchen restaurant at uShaka Marine World in Durban has been fined R40 000 after Ezemvelo marine conservation officers searched the restaurant fridges and found several sea fish with incomplete sales invoicing.

It is the second time in a year the restaurant, which specialises in Chinese cuisine, has fallen foul of regulations.

uShaka Marine World also hosts the Oceanographic Research Institute, the SA Association for Marine and Biological Research and the Seaworld Education Centre.

Emperor’s Kitchen owner Hong Ping Wu, 45, pleaded guilty on behalf of the restaurant to charges under the Marine Living Resources Act. He appeared before magistrate Mike Lasich in the Point Community Court last Tuesday.

The restaurant was fined R40 000, half of which was suspended for five years.

Prosecutor Waldo Smit said the restaurant had been inspected on November 24 by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s fishery control officers. Several species of fish were found, but with incomplete invoicing, making it impossible to determine the origins and suppliers of the fish.

Hong and manager Paul Wu had appeared in court in March 2011 and pleaded guilty to several charges under the same act after Ezemvelo officers found 70 locally sourced lobsters hidden in dustbins, along with several other prohibited seafood species.

On that occasion, Wu was fined R120 000, and the restaurant, represented by Hong, R180 000.

Ezemvelo marine prosecutions officer Wayne Evans warned on Sunday that it was an offence to trade sea fish species commercially without invoices recording the names and physical addresses of the parties to the transaction, along with the date of delivery and the quantity and mass of each species.

The law required that these invoices should be kept for at least 24 months and should be readily available for inspection by fishery control officers. - The Mercury