Northland fishery cases in court
17 December 2010
John Te Tawhero Gunn, a 26-year-old Hokianga man, was sentenced in the Kaikohe District Court on 15 December to 300 hours’ community service, he had his dive gear ordered forfeit to the Crown and he was banned from fishing for three years having been found guilty of two serious Fisheries Act charges relating to possessing excess and undersize paua.
Gunn was apprehended by Fishery Officers on 28 January at Kawerua on Northland’s west coast with 98 paua, 96 of which were undersize. The banning order was made because he had previous serious fisheries convictions.
At the same time, Daniel Elvis Moke, a 25-year-old Hokianga man, was sentenced to 300 hours’ community service and had his four-wheel-drive vehicle ordered forfeit to the Crown having been found guilty of two serious Fisheries Act charges relating to possessing excess and undersize paua. Moke was apprehended with Gunn on 28 January at Kawerua with 90 paua, 88 of which were undersize.
The daily limit for paua is 10 per diver with a minimum size limit of 125 millimetres across the widest part of the shell.
Darren Edwards, Ministry of Fisheries Northland Field Operations Manager, said the most disappointing aspect of these convictions was that both men are local and known to Fishery Officers.
“The north-west coast paua fishery, like all fisheries, is a finite resource and will not sustain the abuse that it is currently taking from fishers who are showing a total disregard for the fisheries regulations,” Mr Edwards said.
“Fishery Officers will continue to apply pressure to high-risk areas and fisheries in an attempt to curb this anti-social behaviour, but they cannot be everywhere and we need the public’s assistance - especially during these busy summer months.”
The Ministry encourages members of the public to report any suspicious activity to the 0800 4 POACHER freephone number (0800 476 224).