Porirua paua plunderer jailed
05 August 2010
Earlier this week a Porirua man was convicted and sentenced to 17 months’ prison on four charges relating to the theft of paua from the Wellington coastline over a four-month period in late 2009.
Manua Fasavalu pleaded guilty to the charges in the Porirua District Court. Judge Mill also imposed a fishing ban for three years. Neru Kome, also from Porirua and an associate of Fasavalu, was sentenced to five and a half months’ home detention on two similar charges. He also was banned from fishing for three years. A vehicle and dive gear was forfeit to the Crown. Four other members of this group are yet to be dealt with by the court.
The court heard that in early September 2009, Fasavalu and eight of his cohorts had been diving near Titahi Bay, where they set up a concealed, self-sufficient camp.
A large number of paua were taken by this group - 804 of the 1182 shellfish were undersize. The recreational limit is 10 paua per person per day.
One of the group had previously been sentenced to two years’ jail, and home detention was handed to two others for similar charges.
Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Mike Green said the actions of this group put them in the serious fisheries offending bracket where they had no regard whatsoever for the resource they were pilfering or their local community.
“It’s always extremely disappointing to find thieves with large quantities of fish like this, especially when they’ve done it before,” Mr Green said. “I hope these sentences will be a lesson to greedy fishers that the full force of the law will be used for people who breach fisheries rules.
“The catch limit is there for a reason - so there is enough paua for everyone to catch a decent feed today, tomorrow and in the future.”
If members of the public have information or suspect illegal fishing, they should call the Ministry’s 0800 4 POACHER hotline - 0800 476 224.
Photograph of seized paua