The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) will continue its bid to prosecute a dead man.
Two Korean fishermen were last year charged over dumping fish at sea, but one of them - 44-year-old Soon Ill Hwang - has since died.
In the Christchurch District Court today, Judge Brian Callahan confirmed that Hwang was deceased , following Chinese media reports he had died.
An investigation by Interpol confirmed Hwang had died in a car accident on September 11, 2012.
A personal representative, believed to be Hwang’s father, will stand in place of Hwang. The representative has 21 days to file an application to stay the case, which would suspend proceedings.
The case will now centre on whether Hwang knew about the criminal proceedings before his death - something the representative will have to prove in court.
MPI have confirmed their intent to continue with prosecution, despite the difficulties, and are looking for a conviction of both Hwang and Dae Jun Lee, the skipper of the Oyang 77 fishing vessel.
The pair are charged with dumping fish at sea, misreporting quota species and not reporting the incidental catch of the highly endangered basking shark. A conviction would enable the ministry to confiscate the vessel.
The vessel’s skipper, 49-year-old Lee, has previously denied all 12 charges laid against him by the ministry. The charges came following a 3 News investigation in May.