Kawhia poaching family receive big fines lose boats and quota
December 14, 2004
Members of the Kawhia fishing family who appeared in the Hamilton District Court today for sentencing on 63 fisheries' charges received fined totalling $38,500. They were also ordered to pay court costs of $3160 and a further $2000 in solicitors' fees.
Neil Abraham Cleaver, a 63-year-old commercial fisher from Te Waitere was sentenced on 36 charges. His wife, Verena Ann Cleaver, a 60-year-old fish processor, faced 17 charges; their daughter, 38-year-old Janette Ann Harper, a sales person from Te Kuiti, faced 8 charges and 30-year-old Sophie Erin Jackson-Cleaver of Te Waitere (the Cleavers' daughter in law) was sentenced on two charges.
The family's two commercial fishing boats, the Double Six, a wooden boat of approximately 4 metres in length used for inner harbour fishing targeting fish species as such flounder and mullet and the Shamrock, a larger boat of 8.5 metres in length used for fishing in deeper water for such species as snapper, gurnard, shark and hapuku were both ordered forfeit to the crown. Fisheries officers went to the family's Te Waitere base, on the shores of Kawhia Harbour, and seized the vessels this afternoon, following the sentencing.
Quota 155kg of barracuda and 6457kgs of trevally, held by Neil Cleaver was also ordered forfeit to the crown.
Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager, Ian Bright, described the sentencing of the poaching family as a very positive outcome for the future of New Zealand's fishery.
"The Ministry works very hard to ensure a level playing field for all participants in the industry and are determined to clamp down hard on any illegal black market activities that threaten to undermine this fair system," he says.
Ian Bright also praised the work of Patrick Lynch, the officer in charge of the operation that caught the Cleavers, and the other fishery officers who worked on the case.
"Their detailed, professional, hard work resulted in such a large amount of overwhelming evidence that the defendants had no choice but to plead guilty and then face the consequences of their actions."