Solicitor forfeits $40,000 boat for taking excess scallops
November 16 2005
An Auckland solicitor, 40-year-old Michael Owen Robertson of Mt Albert in Auckland, has lost his $40,000 boat and a large amount of dive equipment after it was ordered forfeit to the crown following his conviction for taking excess scallops.
Robertson appeared in the Warkworth District Court yesterday (November 15). His vessel was boarded by fishery officers at the Irish Shoal (near Kawau island) on January 6 this year.
The fishery officers found Robertson to be in possession of 388 scallops, 48 of which were undersized. His daily legal limit was just 20 scallops, meaning he had more than 19 times his allowable limit.
In addition to the loss of his boat and dive gear, Robertson also received a fine of $750 plus $130 court costs for the excess scallops and a further $100 plus $130 court costs for the undersized scallops.
While acknowledging that the forfeiture of such an expensive boat will send a clear message to others thinking of ignoring the legal limits, Auckland Recreational District Compliance Manager, Matt Cowan, said the fact the offender was a solicitor was exceptionally disappointing.
“Fishery officers caught Robertson during a routine patrol of the Hauraki Gulf. We greatly intensified our patrols last summer and will maintain that high level throughout the coming summer season.
“Fisheries rules are there to protect the resource for the whole population,” says Matt Cowan. “Those who are considering ignoring these rules for their own benefit should be aware that their chances of being caught are high and the consequences serious.”
For more information, please contact:
District Compliance Manager
Phone: (09) 820-1990.