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Paua poaching prosecutions highlight need for vigilance

Paua poaching prosecutions highlight need for community vigilance

Recent paua poaching convictions in the Dargaville and Kaikohe District Courts continue to show that the Ministry of Fisheries is actively targeting those who show no regard for the future of our fisheries.

On 11 November 2010 Greg James FREARSON was sentenced in the Dargaville District Court to 150 hours community service having pleaded guilty to one charge of taking excess paua and one charge of taking undersize paua. FREARSON was apprehended in Kawerua on Dargaville’s west coast on 27 April 2010 where he had 121 paua, all of which were undersize

“The daily limit for paua is 10 per diver, with a minimum size limit of 125mm along the longest part of the shell” said Ministry of Fisheries Northland Regional Manager, Darren Edwards.

Shane WIKAIRA was remanded on bail to 8 February 2011 for a pre-sentence report having pleaded guilty to four serious charges in relation to possession of excess and undersize paua, giving false details to a fishery officer, and fishing whilst prohibited. WIKAIRA was apprehended at Kawerua on 19 July 2010 with 66 paua, 64 of which were undersize. At that time he gave fishery officers false details as he knew he was a prohibited fisher due to previous convictions for serious fisheries offences.

At the same time, Tane KIKAIRA was sentenced to 80 hours community service, having pleaded guilty to one charge of possessing excess paua and possessing undersize paua after being apprehended at Kawerua on 19 July 2010 with 67 paua, 64 of which were undersize.

“Fisheries regulations are there to ensure we have a sustainable fishery both now and into the future. This sort of blatant plunder could have long reaching effects on local paua stocks,” said Mr Edwards.

Fishery officers will continue to actively seek out the people who are offending against fisheries legislation, but they cannot be everywhere. The Ministry of Fisheries is calling on all New Zealanders to play their part in making sure our fisheries will be healthy and accessible for future generations.

“We need to have four million guardians of our coastline and fisheries this summer, all looking out for the future of our fish stocks by following the rules and not turning a blind eye to the greedy few who flout them,” said Mr Edwards.

People should report any suspicious fishing activity to the Ministry of Fisheries by calling 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476224).

ENDS

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