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DOC clamps down on offenders taking seafood

DOC clamps down on offenders taking seafood from Long Bay Marine Reserve

Anyone who attempts to take seafood from Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve this summer is likely to get caught, the Department of Conservation (DOC) warns.

“We monitor and regularly patrol Long Bay Marine Reserve and work closely with the police and other agencies to catch offenders,” says DOC marine ranger Martin Stanley.

“We also monitor the times, tides and weather conditions when offending is likely to occur,” he says.

Just last week at North Shore District Court, two men were fined $500 each and were ordered to pay court costs after pleading guilty to taking from a marine reserve.

The two men were caught fishing from their boat within the Long Bay Marine Reserve by two patrolling DOC conservation officers.

“These two men hadn’t caught anything, but you don’t have to catch anything to be charged and convicted,” says Mr Stanley. “The charge of taking from a marine reserve includes just attempting to take seafood.”

This case is just one of a number of cases related to Long Bay Marine Reserve. A North Shore resident plead guilty to taking kina from the reserve in winter this year, and several other cases are either before the courts or being investigated.

In the Auckland region, DOC also manages and patrols Te Matuku Bay Marine Reserve on Waiheke Island , Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve close to Leigh and Motu Manawa-Pollen Island Marine Reserve in the Waitemata Harbour .

Mr Stanley says marine reserves were established in specific areas to preserve their natural state as the habitat of marine life.

“While the public is welcome and encouraged to enjoy marine reserves, all marine life in them is protected. Fishing and the removal or disturbance of any living or non-living marine resource is prohibited, except for permitted scientific study.”

If you see anyone collecting seafood or fishing in a marine reserve, please call 0800 DOC HOT/0800 362 468.

Established in 1995, Long Bay – Okura Marine Reserve covers an area of 980 hectares including a variety of coastal habitats from sandy beaches to rocky reefs, mudflats and mangroves. There are 32 marine reserves throughout New Zealand .

ENDS

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