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Six Found Guilty of Fishing at the Poor Knights

Six Found Guilty of Fishing at the Poor Knights

2 February 2001

The Department of Conservation says today’s Court ruling that found six men guilty of fishing in a Northland Marine Reserve should serve as an important reminder for all members of the public.

The six men were caught fishing in the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve in August 1999 and their case has been heard in the Whangarei District Court this week before Judge Peter Boshier.

The six were charged with taking more than 70 snapper and 12 trevally from the reserve on August 27 1999. There were also additional convictions for failing to give personal details to a ranger and threatening a ranger.

DoC prosecutor Mike Bodie said under the law anyone prosecuted for fishing in a Marine Reserve is required to prove to the court that they have either a reasonable excuse, or lawful authority whether that be based on customary rights or otherwise.

Mr Bodie said the Department wishes to make it clear that because there is a legal onus on those charged to prove their defence, anybody caught taking marine life from a Marine Reserve will be liable to prosecution.

Mr Bodie said it would be business as usual for the Department as far as law enforcement in Marine Reserves is concerned.

All marine life is protected within the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve that extends 800 metres around the entire island group.

Marine reserves have been established around New Zealand and represent this country’s unique and representative marine habitats and species, similar to a national park on land. They are the strongest form of legal protection we can give our marine world to conserve and protect them for future generations.

Marine areas around the country are protected under the Marine Reserves Act 1971 and are managed by the Department of Conservation (DoC). They contain underwater scenery, natural features or marine life of such distinctive quality or so typical, beautiful or unique that their continued preservation is in the national interest.

For more information please contact Jeff Griggs on (09) 4351759

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