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Paua Industry Wants Stiffer Penalties for Poachers

Press Release

30 May 2006

Paua Industry Wants Stiffer Penalties for Poachers

Ed Arron, Chairman of the Paua Industry Council, says the seafood industry is in full agreement with Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton who calls for stiffer penalties for fish thieves. Mr Anderton, while opening last weeks Seafood Industry Conference in Wellington said that fish thieves should be treated the same as bank robbers. “A slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket is not appropriate” said Mr Anderton. “These people are nothing but thieves.”

Mr Arron said the huge paua bust made in the southern Wairarapa just the day after the Industry conference highlighted the need for more appropriate deterrent sentencing.

“The public will no longer tolerate the judiciary handing out wet bus tickets to fish thieves” he said. Mr Arron also advised that the paua industry would work closely with Ministry prosecutors to ensure the court had all the facts around the biological and economic impact of the theft of this important public resource.

“Nearly half of the plundered paua were undersize and these are the breeding fish that sustain the fishery for the future. The legal size limit is set at 125 mm so paua have 2 to 3 years to breed before they can be legally taken. By removing these undersized paua the sustainability of the fishery is threatened,” said Mr Arron.

Mr Arron also said that the Ministry of Fisheries in conjunction with the Paua Industry is implementing ten initiatives to fight paua poaching but progress has been frustratingly slow. He hopes the Minister’s comments will re-energise the Ministry’s implementation of these initiatives to eliminate paua poaching.

ENDS

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