$31k fine for bird nest sales

By Te Ao - Māori News
Swiftlet nest.  Source / Wikimedia Commons

An Auckland woman has been fined $31,500 for selling edible bird’s nests because of the biosecurity risk they pose.

Charges against the Auckland beauty salesperson for possession, selling and attempting to sell unauthorised dry edible bird’s nests through the social media channel WeChat followed a Ministry of Primary Industries investigation.

Linying Ouyang, 30, pleaded guilty to three charges under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and was sentenced on Monday in the Waitakere District Court, MPI said in a statement.

MPI's Ron Scott said the offending was premeditated and involved selling unauthorised goods for financial gain.

“Bird’s nests are a Chinese delicacy made from the saliva of the Swiftlet bird. Swiftlets can carry avian diseases and are a biosecurity risk. This is why untreated product is not allowed into New Zealand.

“Having edible bird’s nests increase New Zealand’s risk of exposure to avian pathogens," he said.

The charges relate to incidents between 8 May and 25 November 2019. 

Ms Ouyang’s cellphone and laptop were seized, along with records of WeChat conversations.

MPI said these revealed two completed sales and four attempts to sell the bird’s nests through a WeChat group where she advertised them for sale.

The total value of the nests sold was $765.