Paua poaching court success in Gisborne, Opotiki
14 July 2011
The Ministry of Fisheries today reported the successful outcomes of two court cases involving paua poaching in the Poverty Bay area. Fines totalling around $3000 were imposed on the defendants by the court.
In the first case, on 18 November 2010 Jack Tuakana Wilson, 44, unemployed, and two associates were returning from a dive at Loisel’s Beach north of Gisborne.
They placed three sacks of seafood in the rear of a vehicle and Wilson drove off the beach. They were stopped by Fishery Officers and a search of Wilson’s vehicle located 32 paua, all of which were undersize.
Wilson was convicted and fined a total of $1510 including court costs.
In the second case, on 19 February 2011 Ivan Samson and another person were stopped by a Fishery Officer leaving Maraehako beach. Samson told the Fishery Officer they had paua in the vehicle gathered for an unveiling.
Two sacks containing a total of 169 paua, most of which were undersize, were located in the vehicle. Both defendants admitted that they did not have a customary permit to gather the seafood.
Samson was convicted and fined a total of $1500.
Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Tom Teneti said that if people are gathering seafood for customary events, they first need to get a customary permit from a recognised issuer.
“The permit issuer is able to say the amount and size of kaimoana to be gathered. Having a permit makes sure gatherers are protected and the kaitiaki can issue kaimoana in a sustainable way,” Mr Teneti said.
He said these cases were the outcome of an intense enforcement/compliance programme in his district in recent months.
“I hope these cases will act as a warning to others thinking about doing anything similar. It has been a concerted effort from Fishery Officers who will continue targeting known areas of illegal activity.”
The daily limit of paua is 10 per person per day. The minimum shell length is 125 millimetres. Members of the public are encouraged to call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) if they see anything suspicious or illegal in our fisheries.