Illegal paua seller lands $2500 fine
20 September 2010
An unemployed Papamoa man found guilty of selling paua to an associate has been fined $2500 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs.
Simon Christopher Rawiri, 41, appeared in the Tauranga District Court today, charged with possessing fish unlawfully for the purpose of sale.
The court heard that, between March and April this year, Rawiri had sold 66 undersized paua to the associate, who also lives in Papamoa. He had received $40 for the paua, which ranged in size from 96 millimetres to just 63 millimetres.
The legal minimum size for paua in the Bay of Plenty area is 125 millimetres and gatherers are allowed to take a maximum of 10 legal-sized paua each per day.
Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Brendon Mikkelsen says Rawiri was apprehended after police officers, executing a search warrant at the associate’s address, discovered the illegal paua.
“After we were alerted by the police, we interviewed the associate who quickly admitted buying the undersized paua from Rawiri.”
Brendon Mikkelsen says members of the public should be aware that it is illegal to buy seafood from anyone other than a licensed fish receiver or dealer.
“Those who buy from poachers like Rawiri are encouraging the illegal plunder of our fish stocks and can also be risking their health and that of their family.
“They are also breaking the law and could be prosecuted and face substantial fines.”
He urged members of the public who see any unlawful activity (including suspected poaching and offering seafood for sale on the black market) to phone the Ministry’s popular 0800 4 POACHER line (0800 476 224) in confidence.