BLACK MARKET PAUA RING SMASHED
25 March 2003
A black market paua supply chain leading from the South Island to Auckland has been broken, following the arrests of two people in Wellington, two in Auckland and a fifth in Blenheim.
Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager, Ross Thurston, says the arrests were the culmination of a three-month investigation into black market paua sales.
The people arrested in Wellington and Auckland, three men and a woman who are all beneficiaries, will appear in the Wellington and Auckland Courts on Wednesday March 26. The other arrested man, an ex-commercial fisher from the South Island, will be appearing in the Blenheim District Court on April 8.
All four face serious Fishery Act charges and face up to five years in prison and/or $250,000 fines if convicted. Fishery officers have also seized four vehicles, and an inflatable boat. The man from Auckland also faces drug related charges.
Up to 64 officers assisted with search warrants that have been executed in Auckland, Wellington and the Blenheim area. Enquiries are ongoing.
"This has been a long and difficult enquiry involving Ministry of Fisheries staff from all around the country," Mr Thurston says. "The enquiry commenced in Auckland some months ago and has spread south into the South Island. The arrests follow many hours of good old-fashioned investigation work."
For further enquiries please contact:
Ross Thurston, District Compliance Manager
Ministry of Fisheries,
(04) 576 8044