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Increased poaching disappoints DOC


28 November 2017

Increased poaching disappoints DOC

The Department of Conservation has expressed disappointment over the sharp increase of alleged poaching cases at Te Angiangi Marine Reserve.

Hawke’s Bay Operations Manager Connie Norgate says the Department has apprehended seven people in as many weeks for illegally fishing at the Reserve, which is located between Blackhead and Aramoana beaches.

Those suspected to be involved in this offending are alleged to have either fished from kayaks or taken kina and paua.

“Seven cases in as many weeks for this offending is a really high number, especially for one of the smaller reserves under DOC’s care,” Ms Norgate says.

“This is despite Department staff going to great lengths to erect large signs in many different places around the Reserve to alert the public of the rules and regulations that govern its use.”

Ms Norgate says in some cases, the alleged offenders have passed up to seven signs on their way into the Reserve.

“At least one was parked directly in front of a sign,” she says.

“All of the alleged offending has been carried out in full view of the large metre by three metre bright orange triangles which mark the boundaries of the Reserve.”

Ms Norgate says those caught may be prosecuted under the Marine Reserves Act.

Under the Act, penalties for taking marine life from a marine reserve include up to three months in prison, fines of up to $10,000 and possible forfeiture of boats and fishing equipment.

“Marine reserves are fully protected areas,” she says.

“They allow the ecosystems within them to return to near their former glory, and sustaining a variety of sea life. This can also support an increase in local fish stocks.”

Te Angiangi Marine Reserve spans 446 hectares and was created in 1997.

Anyone who spots suspicious activity in a marine reserve, including taking of fish or shellfish, should call the 24-hour DOC emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

–Ends–

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