Family paua ring busted during operation
8 August 2008
Fishery officers in Nelson and Christchurch yesterday busted an alleged family-run paua poaching network operating along the Kaikoura coast.
Operation Raro targeted a Nelson family of three who have allegedly been taking paua illegally along the coast for the past five months.
It’s understood the paua has then been on-sold and distributed within the Vietnamese, Cambodian and Chinese communities in Nelson.
It’s estimated that half a tonne of paua has been taken over the five month period.
Fishery officers arrested the alleged ring leader, a 48-year-old Vietnamese man, yesterday at his Nelson home.
He is due to appear in the Nelson District Court on Tuesday facing charges of taking and selling in contravention of the Fisheries Act 1996.
The maximum penalty on conviction is imprisonment of up to five years and or a fine of $250,000.
Enquiries are continuing and a number of other people within the network will face charges against the Fisheries Act 1996 in the coming weeks.
District Compliance Manager in Nelson, Geoff Clark, says the operation reinforces the determination of the Ministry of Fisheries to target and apprehend anyone involved with the poaching and possible black marketing of our fisheries resources.
“Fishery officers can operate at any time of the day and night, and fishers should comply with the laws at all times,” he says.
Any members of the public who have further information regarding the illegal distribution of paua are urged to contact the Nelson Ministry of Fisheries office on 03 548 1069 or call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 4 76224).
For more information please contact Senior Communications Advisor, Tim Ingleton, on 04 819 4236.