Repeat fisheries offender sentenced
14 May 2010
Last week a Dargaville man appeared in his local District Court having been convicted of six serious charges against the Fisheries Act dating back to July 2009.
Vaughan Frederick Samuels, 42, a repeat fisheries offender, had previously been convicted for serious offences in mid 2008, when he had been banned from fishing for three years.
Between July and December 2009, Samuels was apprehended by Fishery Officers on three separate occasions fishing on Ripiro Beach in breach of the banning order.
The court sentenced Samuels to five months’ home detention in relation to breaching the banning order and 60 hours’ community service for taking toheroa. He was also banned from fishing for a further three years. His vehicle and fishing gear were forfeit to the Crown.
Darren Edwards, Ministry of Fisheries Northland Field Operations Manager, said this was an excellent result. “It shows that people who continue to offend against the Fisheries Act will be prosecuted and receive appropriate penalties,” Mr Edwards said.
Offences such as breaching a banning order carry a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment.
Phil Heatley, Whangarei MP and Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, said he was astounded at the recklessness of repeat offenders.
“I can’t understand why time and again they risk the full force of the law coming down on them and the condemnation of their own communities,” Mr Heatley said. “I congratulate Fishery Officers on their tireless work to protect sensitive marine areas like Ripiro Beach.”
Fishery Officers cannot be everywhere and rely on the public for assistance. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the Ministry of Fisheries on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).