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Paua-poacher banned from fishing for three years

Paua-poacher banned from fishing for three years and ordered to home detention

16 October 2017

A member of a Wellington-based paua poaching operation has been banned from fishing for three years and ordered to serve seven months home detention after earlier pleading guilty to more than 20 charges under the Fisheries Act.

Thirty-nine-year-old Sonny Gilbert Wairau from Brooklyn was sentenced for his part in a black market operation involving three main offenders that called themselves The Paua Corporation when he appeared in the Wellington District Court on Friday.

The men illegally took, over seven months, 257kg of greenweight paua and 31kg of sea cucumbers from around the Wellington coastline and then illegally sold the paua and sea cucumbers.

The value of the paua, if sold legitimately, was more than $17,000.

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman, Steve Ham, says the men acted jointly as well as separately in contravention of the Fisheries Act.

“At the time of offending, Wairau was a prohibited fisher due to past offending and so also faced 10 charges of contravening a prohibition order.

“This was an elaborate operation that saw large amounts of paua and sea cucumbers taken and then sold unlawfully. This sort of offending, especially around the Wellington region, has a serious effect on the sustainability of the stock and it deprives future generations of a resource that they are legitimately entitled to enjoy and consume.”

Various items of fishing gear that Wairau used in the commission of his offending was forfeited to the Crown.

The other two offenders are currently also before the court.

Ends

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