Three paua poachers apprehended
2 October 2007
Fishery officers on routine patrol together, and alerted by a tip off from the public, apprehended three paua poachers on the Wainuiomata Coast last night.
Fishery officer Aaron Mendoza wanted to thank the members of the public who reported the illegal activity. “The general public are our eyes and ears along our extensive coastline and accurate and timely information allow Fishery Officers to respond appropriately,” he says.
The three men possessed 500 to 600 paua between them – well above their daily limit of 10 paua per person, per day.
A number of items were also seized by the Fishery Officers, including a vehicle and other fishing paraphernalia including knives and a spear gun.
The three poachers, together with a fourth person who provided transport for them, were apprehended and will face charges under the Fisheries Act. Two of them were held overnight in police custody.
Aaron Mendoza says the offenders were known to have gang links – something he says is increasingly common where large-scale paua offending is concerned. He believes the paua taken last night was destined for the black market trade.
“These people know the rules and think nothing of breaking them," Aaron says. “They have no regard for the sustainability of the fishery - they obviously think nothing of stealing this resource from future generations.”
Individuals involved in the black market paua trade face serious Fisheries Act charges and face up to five years in prison and/or $250,000 fines if convicted.
Fishery Officers, where necessary with support of the local police, will continue to target those individuals involved in illegal fishing.
Aaron Mendoza says if people see any suspicious fishing activity they should call 0800 4POACHER to report it.