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Minister welcomes tougher sentence for poachers

5 July 2005

Minister welcomes tougher sentence for poachers

Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope has welcomed the Court of Appeal imposing a tougher sentence on people involved in a paua poaching ring.

"Paua poaching poses a serious threat to the sustainability of that species," said Mr Benson-Pope.

"I was disappointed with the original sentence some of those involved in the Te Kaha case received and I am delighted that after an appeal from the Crown, jail terms have been imposed.

"This was serious offending on a commercial scale. I am very pleased that the Court of Appeal has sent a signal to the community that poaching carries significant penalties. Poaching is theft.

"As a government we have focused on stopping the illegal harvest and trade of fish species, particularly paua. This includes investing in more compliance staff and building a strong relationship with the paua industry.

"The Ministry of Fisheries has a 90 per cent success rate for prosecutions it brings and sentences like today's should provide a significant disincentive to those considering breaking the law."

ENDS

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