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Poor Knights Sentencing

1 March 2001

The heavy sentence meted out to six men found guilty of illegal fishing in the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve shows the seriousness of the offending, the Department of Conservation says.

The men were fined $5000 each in the Whangarei District Court today for taking marine life from the internationally renowned marine reserve. One man was fined an additional $750 for threatening a Department of Conservation officer.

The maximum penalty for the offences, under the Marine Reserves Act 1971, is a fine of $10,000 or three months’ imprisonment.

Whangarei Area Office manager John Gardiner said Judge Boshier had "said it all"when handing out the sentences.

"Judge Boshier referred to the importance of the Poor Knights Marine Reserve from a local, national and international perspective.

"We are undeniably fortunate to have such a conservation gem on our doorstep but we all have a responsibility to look after it.

"We believe the Judge sent a very clear message that people will dealt with quite comprehensively. We are satisfied with the sentences which we believe are appropriate," Mr Gardiner added.

"I am also pleased for my staff and all the conservation staff who have shown their commitment to law enforcement as well as to their many other conservation duties. This commitment often means working at the weekend or at night in sometimes hostile situations.

“To have this outcome makes the work worthwhile,” Mr Gardiner said.

For more information please contact John Gardiner on (09) 430 2133

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