Couple convicted of taking nearly 100 crayfish
12 May 2008
An East Coast couple were fined nearly $4,000 and lost their $7,500 boat to the Crown for taking nearly 100 crayfish, in Gisborne District Court today.
Harry Junior Sadlier, 32, and Joanne Robina Birch, 31, both of the Anaura Bay, pleaded not guilty to charges of taking excess and undersize crayfish relating to fishing in 2007.
The sentencing today was the successful conclusion to an operation by the Ministry of Fisheries which had already seen two other people convicted and sentenced for receiving the crayfish that Sadlier and Birch had taken from Anaura Bay.
The two people convicted of receiving the crayfish gave evidence against Sadlier and Birch as to who they had bought the crayfish from.
Sadlier was sentenced by Judge Rota as being the primary offender in which Sadlier and Birch took 93 crayfish, of which 84 were undersize. The daily recreational bag limit for crayfish is six per person per day. Sadlier was convicted and fined $3,000 plus court costs of $130. Birch was convicted and fined $750 plus court costs of $130.
The couple’s 14 foot aluminium dinghy with a 40 hp motor and all of the fishing gear seized with it was ordered forfeit.
Judge Rota said he had to take into account that the defendants were not working and were on a benefit. However, Parliament has intended that penalties be reasonably strident.
Senior Fisheries Prosecutor Morgan Dunn told the Court that Sadlier had previously been given two infringement notices by the Ministry of Fisheries for using too many crayfish pots and using pots that were not marked properly.
“The recreational fishing regulations are there to protect our fisheries for everyone. When the regulations get flouted, everyone loses.”
If people have information or suspect illegal fishing anywhere on the East Coast, they should ring the MFish poacher line 0800 4POACHER (0800 476 224).