Man convicted of plundering Marine Reserve forfeits gear and gets 200 hours community service
16 February 2009
An unemployed man Julian Hoogland, 32 from Gisborne was convicted, in Gisborne Court on 3 February, and sentenced to 200 hours community service and forfeit his dive gear for taking seven rock lobster, five of which were undersized, and three kina from Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.
Appearing before Judge Spear the court heard that on the 21 October 2008 fishery officers pulled over his vehicle after he departed from the Marine Reserve. When they inspected the vehicle they located a sack of recently harvested rock lobster and kina.
“Removing seafood from a Marine Reserve is a very serious matter and can result in heavy fines or even up to 3 months imprisonment or both” said Tom Teneti District Compliance Manager Ministry of Fisheries.
Five of the seven rock lobster taken were found to be undersize. The two remaining rock lobster were described as enormous by fishery officers and of a size associated with rock lobster removed from the Marine Reserve. The Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 state that rock lobster must measure 54mm tail width for male and 60mm tail width for female rock lobsters.
At the time of the offending Hoogland admitted to diving and gathering his catch from within the Marine Reserve. In explanation Hoogland stated the rock lobster and kina were for a feed and it was just a lapse of judgement.
Fisheries Prosecutor Morgan Dunn said in court that Hoogland has previous convictions for fisheries offending.
“The court appearance and a sentence of 200 hours of community sends a message that illegal removals from the Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve will not be tolerated” said Tom Teneti, “It will provide a deterrent to those who disregard laws aimed at protecting our Marine Reserves”
“We are appealing to the public to help us catch those who only aim is to steal from us all and our future generations. If you see suspicious fishing activity please call our 0800 4 POACHER line” he said