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Illegal fishing offenders plead guilty

Illegal fishing offenders plead guilty

Two Havelock North men have pleaded guilty to fishing in the Te Angiangi marine reserve. They have each paid $750 in restitution.

Late last year, the Department of Conservation brought charges against seven people for fishing illegally, and these two men are the most recent to plead guilty.

At the time DOC Hawke’s Bay Operations Manager Connie Norgate expressed frustration over the sharp increase of alleged poaching cases.

She said having seven cases of illegal fishing in Te Angiangi Marine Reserve before the courts at the same time was especially high for one of the smaller reserves under DOC’s care.

The Department ensures adequate signage is in place at marine reserves to alert the public to rules and regulations.

All seven offenders were charged under either the Marine Reserves Act or Fisheries Act, with penalties for taking marine life from a marine reserve including 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,” Connie Norgate says. “They help the ecosystems within them return to their former glory.

Te Angiangi Marine Reserve is between Blackhead and Aramoana beaches in Hawkes Bay and is patrolled regularly by local rangers.

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

–Ends–

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