Two years’ jail for big paua theft
7 May 2010
A Porirua man was today convicted and sentenced to two years’ prison on four charges relating to the theft of paua from the Wellington coastline over a four-month period in late 2009.
Ruteru Sufia pleaded guilty to the charges in the Porirua District Court. Judge Grace also imposed a fishing ban for three years and all of Sufia’s diving gear was forfeit to the Crown.
The court heard that Sufia had been diving at various locations on the Wellington coast from early September to late December 2009.
He had been caught in possession of a total of 1,764 paua, most of which were undersized. The legal limit for the four times Sufia had been caught was a total of 40 paua – the recreational limit is 10 paua per person per day.
Sufia told Fishery Officers that he intended to sell the paua he had taken. Paua cannot be taken for the purpose of sale.
Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Mike Green said Sufia’s actions put him in the serious fisheries offending bracket where he had scant regard for the resource he was pilfering.
“It’s always disappointing to find fishers with large quantities of fish that has been taken in breach of amateur fishing regulations,” Mr Green said. “I hope this sentence 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.