Convicted fish poacher loses vehicles, boat and smokehouse
15 September 2010
A Maketu man who was today convicted of illegally selling fish in several licensed premises in Rotorua has been sentenced to nine months’ home detention and ordered to carry out 200 hours’ community work.
Norman Evan Reid also had around $35,000 worth of property, which he used to commit the offences, ordered forfeit to the Crown. These included two vehicles, a 5.8-metre boat, a 100-horsepower outboard and a large smokehouse.
Reid, a 57-year-old unemployed man, was convicted of catching a variety of seafood, including snapper, crayfish, mussels and eels, and selling these in various licensed premises in the Rotorua area.
Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Brendon Mikkelsen says Fishery Officers observed Reid selling fish and other seafood both inside the licensed premises and in car parks.
“Reid is not a commercial fisherman or a licensed fish receiver. He is not legally allowed to take fish for sale and he is certainly not allowed to sell anything he catches as a recreational fisherman.”
Brendon Mikkelsen says those who bought fish or other seafood from Reid could also face prosecution.
“Members of the public should know that they are only allowed to buy fish from a licensed fish receiver or dealer, and legitimate fish sellers do not sell their seafood from the back of a car in a pub car park or in a hotel bar.
“People who buy fish in these circumstances are encouraging fish poaching and helping to threaten our fish stocks. They are also breaking the law and could be prosecuted and face substantial fines.”
Brendon Mikkelsen says that while it was disappointing that so many people appeared willing to place themselves at risk by buying Reid’s stolen fish, it was gratifying that some of those who witnessed the illegal transactions rang the Ministry’s popular 0800 4 POACHER hotline to report what was happening.
“Poachers like Reid need to realise that most members of the community are not interested in having someone steal their fish from the sea and then try and sell it back to them,” he said.
There are “4 million guardians” supporting fishery sustainability. Members of the public who see any unlawful activity, including suspected poaching or offering seafood for sale on the black market, are urged to call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 4 76224) in confidence.