Illegal fishing and selling terminated
21 August 2009
Husband and wife Ale Ale and Karewa Ale last week pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court to 16 charges under the Fisheries Act relating to taking and selling crayfish and kina on the black market.
In October and November 2007 the Ales made regular trips from Auckland to the coastal area of Te Ngaire Bay and Matauri Bay in Northland.
Ale Ale used a small vessel to pot and dive for crayfish and kina over periods of two to three days. He took crayfish using illegal unmarked pots and stored them in an unmarked holding pot before transporting them back to Auckland for pre-arranged sales.
Karewa Ale helped her husband take the seafood and organise its on-sale to associates in Auckland, and particularly to the owner of a commercial fish shop.
They sold the crayfish for $20 each, and the kina in sugar sacks and fertiliser bags for $20 and $60 respectively.
Ale Ale was sentenced to 225 hours’ community service and Karewa Ale to 180 hours’ community service. Forfeit to the Crown were two vehicles, the small aluminium vessel and fishing equipment used in the offending.
“Essentially the offenders were acting as if they were commercial fishers, even though they didn’t have a permit or registered vessel as required by the Fisheries Act and under the quota management system,” said Ministry of Fisheries Auckland Investigations Manager Mark Nicholson.
“This is totally unacceptable. Fisheries rules are there to protect the resources for everyone. People like these offenders who take more than their fair share and sell it illegally can do great damage to the sustainability of our fisheries. Anyone thinking about ignoring fishing regulations needs to be aware that their chances of being caught are high and the consequences serious.
“This was another successful operation for the Ministry,” Mark Nicholson said. “The penalty imposed will hopefully deter all fishers from selling on the black market.”
If members of the public see any fishing activity they think might be suspicious, they should call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476224). The daily limit for kina is 50. The daily limit for an individual for crayfish is six, and the number of pots permitted to be used by an individual is three. These must be legibly and permanently marked with the user’s surname and initials.