Gisborne man eats evidence
7 November 2008
A Gisborne man’s vehicle has been forfeit to the Crown after he ignored a Ministry of Fisheries check-point and later consumed his illegal paua catch in an effort to hide the evidence.
Ivan Harrison, 51, was this week convicted of obstruction of a fishery officer in the Gisborne District Court, and sentenced to 100 hours of community service and had his vehicle forfeit.
In July this year, three uniformed fishery officers at Kaiti Beach, Gisborne, observed the defendant and an associate carrying sacks of seafood to a parked vehicle.
When the defendant left the beach he observed the fishery officers who, at this stage, had set up a check-point.
Harrison revved his vehicle and drove directly towards the fishery officers before swerving around them and speeding off.
Fishery officers went to Harrison’s home and when spoken to he told them he had thrown the sack, containing undersized paua, from his vehicle as he left the beach.
A subsequent search of the beach to locate the sack was unsuccessful and it was later confirmed that Harrison had returned to the beach, located the sack and consumed its contents before fishery officers returned with a search warrant.
The Judge presiding over the case, Judge Wolff, said that plundering and taking undersize paua never gives fish stocks a chance to recover. And, aggravating matters was the manner in which Harrison used the vehicle and subsequently returned to the beach to collect the undersize paua.
Gisborne District Compliance Manager, Tom Teneti, says he hopes the apprehension of this poacher serves as a deterrent to anyone planning on plundering our fisheries resources.
“People considering taking illegal seafood should remember – if you offend there is a good chance you will be caught.”
If you see any suspicious activity please contact the Ministry of Fisheries 0800 4 POACHER hotline (0800 4 76224).