The latest in a string of scandals involving the men and their businesses, which have seen the head of the industry and the man in charge of the federal government come under intense pressure to resign.

The latest scandal involves the seizure of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment by a group of men in Tasmania, who are accused of illegally dumping more than $2 million worth of fishing gear on the coast.

They have also been accused of stealing from the government, which is investigating the matter.

The men were among a number of businessmen and men from overseas accused of using the illegal fishing industry to avoid paying their bills.

After the Federal Government was criticised in 2013 for its handling of the affair, the Government decided to investigate the allegations against the men.

The inquiry into the matter was led by Mr Newman, who was the former Prime Minister at the time.

Mr Newman has defended his role in the investigation, saying that it was necessary because of the impact of the scandal on the local community.

In a statement on Thursday, he said the men were innocent of the charges.

“While we have been able to establish that a number are not actually fishermen and a number have not even worked on the Tasmanian coast for many years, the Tasmanians need a strong investigation and accountability,” Mr Newman said.

But Mr Newman’s deputy, Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald, said the Government should have acted sooner to prevent the loss of equipment.

“[It’s] not about the Government not taking action,” Senator Macdonald said.

“It’s about the fact that it’s about what has happened in Tasmania.”

The Government has been forced to pay out more than half of the seized equipment to people who have had to repay the money.

A spokesman for the Tasman-based organisation that organised the fishing industry, the Great Lakes Fishermen’s Association, said it had “been unable to secure payment” from the Federal government.

He said the group was trying to find a “sensible solution” to the case.

An investigation into the men’s alleged misconduct has been launched by the Tasman Sea Rescue Authority, which was set up in the wake of the allegations.

Tasmania Sea Rescue’s deputy chief executive officer, Paul Choden, said he had received a number the men have been “totally vindicated” by the authorities.

”There is no excuse for the actions of these individuals and no excuse, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will be held to account,” Mr Chodens statement said.