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Serial Fisheries Offender To Face Serious Charges Over Pāua Poaching

A serial offender will face serious charges after thousands of empty pāua shells were discovered at his home during a search warrant executed by MPI Fishery Officers.

Police on patrol in Eastbourne, Lower Hutt, near Wellington, stopped the man, and discovered 95 pāua in his car.

MPI’s National Compliance Manager, Steve Ham, says MPI worked with Police to establish whether the man had more pāua in his possession.

“This man is well known to us and he’s been in front of courts 11 times on fishery offences.

“The rules are there for a reason – to ensure sustainability of the fishing resources so that everyone can have the opportunity to put kaimoana on the table,” Mr Ham says.

“People who continue to abuse our fisheries will be caught and dealt with accordingly. This should be a reminder to all poachers. They should expect to be stopped and their catch inspected at any time.

“Fishery Officers undertook a search warrant at his house and found the shells. He had been burying some in the garden.

“We also found 30 kilograms of pāua meat at the house.

“Working with the Police provides us with much greater reach and we are grateful for the excellent inter-agency collaboration, good teamwork, and an excellent result.”

The man will face serious charges under the Fisheries Act.

Senior Constable Jonathan Westrupp, of the Wellington Police Maritime Unit, says: "This type of offending is an example of organised crime that also causes serious harm to our environment.

Police are committed to working with MPI to detect, investigate and prosecute this activity, and keep our coastal areas safe and protected."

MPI encourages people to report suspected illegal activity through the Ministry's 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 47 62 24).

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