Kaikoura diver sentenced for paua poaching
20 September 2011
The Ministry of Fisheries reported today that Kaikoura diver David John Timms had last week been sentenced for serious paua poaching.
Timms, 43, unemployed, pleaded guilty to three Fisheries Act charges relating to the taking and possession of a total of 274 paua weighing 34 kilograms.
The District Court at Blenheim fined Timms $8500 on one of the charges, having convicted and discharged him on the other two and having taken account of his early guilty plea.
Timms told the court the paua was for a hui, which he hadn’t mentioned before, and said Fishery Officers were pursuing a vendetta against him on behalf of the police.
The court didn’t accept this and said deterrence was key to sentencing in a fishery that is particularly vulnerable to poaching.
Ian Bright, Field Operations Manager for the Nelson/Marlborough region, welcomed the sentence and the support of the Paua Industry Council, whose views the court had heard on sentencing.
“This sort of behaviour is a threat to the local paua stocks and to the community’s wellbeing as a whole,” Mr Bright said. “We won’t tolerate it and it’s reassuring that the courts are taking illegal activity in our fisheries very seriously as well.”
Mr Bright said he applauded the support and vigilance of the Kaikoura community in and around the fishery.
“We can’t do it all on our own,” he said. “While we have raised the game by having a permanent presence here in Kaikoura, members of the public are our eyes and ears. If you see anything suspicious or illegal please don’t hesitate to call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) straight away.”