Black market paua convictions
1 February 2008
An Auckland man and woman have been convicted for buying black market paua that had been poached from the Wellington coast.
Luo Yan Wen 44, was fined $1500 plus court costs and had his car valued at $4,000 forfeited to the Crown. Chen Guoying 41, was fined $500 plus court costs. Both appeared in Auckland District Court on 1st February 2008.
Ministry of Fisheries Investigations Manager Mark Nicholson said in March last year Mr Luo bought 26 kilograms of illegal paua from a man in two separate purchases. Ms Chen bought 5 kilograms of illegal paua from the same source.
Mr Nicholson said the man selling the paua had been supplied by a group of divers who were operating on the Wellington coast at Wainuiomata. Fishery officers had been tipped off to the divers’ operation and were able to trace the paua to point of sale.
Mr Nicholson said this sort of black market operation threatens the sustainability of paua stocks throughout the country.
“Paua are enjoyed by customary and recreational fishers, and support a $50 million commercial industry. Protecting the future of the paua fishery is one of our highest priorities.
“Anyone who sees suspicious activity around fishing or the selling of fish, please call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476224) straight away. Everyone has a stake in our fisheries and fresh information gives fishery officers a better chance of catching those who ignore the rules."
The man who sold the paua is also facing Fisheries Act charges.