Police and fishery officers catch paua plunderers
16 February 2009
Two Auckland men were apprehended in a joint action by police and fishery officers in the Coromandel on the 3 February after a member of the public reported their suspicious activity. Coromandel police stopped the men as they were leaving the Coromandel and a subsequent search uncovered 172 excess and undersize paua.
Local fishery officers then arrived on the scene and seized the men’s four wheel drive and assorted dive gear. The men aged between 40 and 43 will now face charges under the Fisheries Act.
“This sends a clear message that we work closely with the community and the police service in apprehending these plunderers”, said Ian Bright District Compliance Manager, “If anyone is considering taking illegal sized and amounts of paua should take note that you will be seen, you will be caught, charged and face severe penalties for your actions”
The penalties for taking or possessing excess and undersize paua range from an infringement fine of $250-$500 through to prosecution where the fines can be up to $250,000 and the forfeiture of property, vehicles and a complete ban on fishing.
“I would like to thank our colleagues in the police and our honorary fishery officers for their continued support in assisting our operations in the Coromandel”, he said.
The Ministry of Fisheries is appealing to the public that if they see suspicious or illegal fishing activity please call 0800 4 POACHER with as much detail as you possible.
“We need your help to catch these people who want to take from us, and from our future generations”, said Mr Bright.