Poachers receive big fines for Pauanui paua greed
19 August 2011
Three North Shore men who took more than three times their legal limit of paua from the beach at Pauanui will have to pay more than $2600 in fines and court costs.
Woong Jae Moon, an unemployed 19-year-old, his 48-year-old tailor father, Ok Bong Moon, and 54-year-old Tye Seong Guim, also unemployed, were each ordered to pay fines of $750 plus court cost of $132, a total of $2636, when they appeared in the North Shore District Court on August 18.
The court heard that a Fishery Officer saw the three at the south end of Pauanui Beach on April 19 this year. The officer also observed the three trying to hide their bags of paua in the water as he approached.
“The Fishery Officer quickly located two bags, containing 94 shucked (removed from their shells) paua, partially concealed in the shallow water at the base of a rock,” said Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Brendon Mikkelsen. “The men were only allowed to take 10 paua each, so they had taken more than three times their combined legal limit, which is deemed serious non-commercial offending.”
The officer also noticed that were a large number of fresh paua shells and that all these shells were well under the legal minimum size of 125 millimetres. He also found a jacket, with a further 15 freshly-shucked paua, nearby.
“Although all three men were clearly wet up to their waists, they all initially denied taking any of the paua,” Mr Mikkelsen said. “However, after further questioning, they eventually admitted that they had all been involved in illegally taking the shellfish.”
In sentencing the three men, Judge Morris said the case had all the hallmarks of people who knew the rules and who, if they didn’t, had an obligation to find out the laws before they went out fishing.
“Clearly, if people were to routinely fish in the way you were, then the fish would very rapidly be depleted to the point where there were none left for anyone,” the judge said.
Welcoming the men’s early guilty pleas and the sentences, Brendon Mikkelsen said this case again illustrates that the Ministry and the public have little time for those who either fail to learn the rules or ignore them.
“Bag and size limits are set to ensure that there will still be fish and shellfish in the water for future generations. Those who flout those rules should be prepared to be caught and to face the consequences of their actions.”
Brendon Mikkelsen also urged members of the public who see others breaking the rules to use the Ministry’s 0800 4 POACHER number (0800
“If we all work together we can stamp out this sort of poaching and ensure a sustainable fishery for all of us for the future.”