Serial paua poacher banned from fishing for 3 years
16 December 2008
Two Christchurch men were convicted of taking excess and undersized paua in Christchurch District Court on 11 December. Ekana Manahi and Te Kohu Campbell were apprehended by Fishery Officers, on 17 September 2008, diving for paua at Boulder Bay near Godley Head.
When stopped and searched by fishery officers 72 paua was found, 66 of which was below the minimum legal size limit of 125mm. The daily limit of paua is 10 per person.
Ministry of Fisheries Prosecutor Megan Alexinas advised the court that Ekana Manahi had appeared before the court on three previous occasions for paua offending.
Judge Neave ordered that Mr Manahi would be banned from any form of fishing activity for the next three years and ordered to do 250 hours of community work. He also indicated that if he was caught fishing during that period, it is likely he would face a jail sentence. Mr. Campbell was sentenced to 150 hours community work.
“We are pleased that the Judge had ordered Mr Manahi be banned from fishing for 3 years as it will be a real deterrent to anyone who might consider re offending” said Peter Hyde MFish District Compliance Manager.
“We also hope that it sends a clear message that if you take seafood illegally, you are breaking the law and you will be caught”
So far it has been a very busy summer for MFish fishery officers in Canterbury. For paua offences alone they have issued 30 infringement notices, with fines ranging from $250 – $500.
Seven people have been caught with larger quantities of paua for which charges have been bought before the Court. The hot spots where offenders are regularly caught include Boulder Bay at Godley Head, Gore Bay North Canterbury and Wainui, Akaroa Harbour.
“We want everyone to enjoy their fishing this summer, but they need to do so responsibly. We would ask everyone to check the rules for what and where they want to fish, before they go fishing. You can check all rules by visiting our website or contacting your local Mfish office” said Mr Hyde.
“We also need the help of the public, if you see any suspicious fishing activity please contact us on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476224)”