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Paua poachers apprehended in Wellington Marine Reserve

23 March 2018

Paua poachers apprehended in Wellington Marine Reserve

Two men are likely to face heavy penalties after helping themselves to paua in rock pools within the Taputeranga Marine Reserve.

Department of Conservation rangers apprehended the men last week after receiving reports of poaching from residents who overlook the reserve on Wellington’s south coast.

All marine life in Taputeranga Marine Reserve is absolutely protected under law.

DOC Biodiversity Ranger Colin Giddy says his team was determined to catch the brazen offenders.

“These guys have been poaching paua in broad daylight, wearing hi-viz vests since January. The arrogance of it is startling.

“We responded to tip offs from local residents several times, but the offenders always left the scene before we arrived.

Knowing they had repeatedly targeted paua in this area, it was very rewarding to catch those responsible.”

Following investigations, the perpetrators could face charges under the Marine Reserves Act and Fisheries 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.

Colin Giddy says this was a blatantly illegal act in a protected marine jewel right on Wellington’s doorstep.

“It is a clear reminder that DOC has no tolerance for people who flout the marine reserve rules – sooner or later they will be caught.”

The 854-hectare Taputeranga Marine Reserve extends approximately 2.3 km off Wellington’s south coast, covering the area around Houghton, Island and Owhiro Bays.

Large yellow markers denote its east and west boundaries for vessels at sea, and shore-based signs advise people of the rules.

Anyone who spots suspicious activity in a marine reserve including the removal of fish or shellfish should call (DOCHOTline) 0800 362 468.

–Ends–


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