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Wife loses husband’s Benz in cockle plunder

Wife loses husband’s Benz in cockle plunder

24 September

An Auckland housewife had her husband’s $70,000 Mercedes Benz forfeited and was ordered to pay almost $1,000 in fines yesterday after being caught with more than 14 times the daily limit of cockles earlier this year.

Miaolan Hu, 30, of One Tree Hill was convicted in the Manukau District Court after earlier pleading guilty to the charge of possessing more than three times the daily limit of cockles.

The Mercedes Benz station wagon was forfeit to the Crown and she was ordered to pay an additional $930 in fines and Court costs.

In January this year Ms Hu was stopped by an Honorary Fishery Officer (HFO) who was carrying out a routine patrol at Cockle Bay, Howick. Ms Hu was accompanied by seven other people, including five children.

The HFO carried out a preliminary examination of the vehicle where he found one bag of cockles between the second and third row of seats.

He then conducted a full search and located bags of cockles in compartments under the second row of seats. These bags were concealed by small cloth trims that went between the floor and the seat which had to be unhooked to see them.

The HFO counted a total of 1098 cockles in the vehicle

Allowing for the other gatherers in the vehicle Ms Hu was in possession of 748 cockles, or more than 14 times the daily limit of 50 cockles that a person may possess in the Auckland and Coromandel area.

Ms Hu told the HFO that she had placed these cockles under the rear seats as she was worried that if found, they may be taken off her.

Auckland District Compliance Manager Ian Bright says the fines imposed and the forfeiture of the car is a timely reminder to shell fish gatherers to obey the daily limits.

“The offending was aggravated by the fact that there is a sign at the entrance to Cockle Bay outlining the daily limits and the concealment of the excess fish.

“It is this type of greed that has led to a proposal to close Cockle Bay to shellfish harvesting on a seasonal basis,” says Ian

“The result is also a testament to the hard work and dedication of our Honorary Fishery Officer network who give their time freely to ensure the sustainability of our seafood resource,” he says.

ENDS

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