Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Otago paua poaching ringleader sentenced to prison

Otago paua poaching ringleader sentenced to prison after MPI investigation

A 40 year-old Dunedin man has received a prison sentence in the Dunedin District Court for his role as the primary offender in a large Otago paua poaching operation.

On Friday, Ryan Karl Tapsell was sentenced to four years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of two years, after being convicted of fifteen charges under the Fisheries Act 1996 in relation to falsely obtaining a customary authorisation to take paua, illegally taking paua and selling paua without a permit. Mr Tapsell also had a significant amount of equipment used in the offending forfeited to the crown including two vehicles, a boat and outboard motor, several cell phones, and a large amount of dive gear.

Between July 2010 and March 2011 the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) conducted an investigation named Operation Apollo which followed a group of paua poachers as they took excess paua from a closed commercial paua area and on-sold the paua to local fish and chip shops. The primary offender in this group was Mr Tapsell who would arrange for customary authorisations to be issued to him on the basis of fictitious events.

A customary authorisation is a privilege that allows the holder to take more than the daily limit of paua for a specified event on a single date authorised by the local Tangata Tiaki. Tapsell however, would use these authorisations to take fish from the date of issue until the actual specified date permitted for the taking. In addition he managed to convince the local Tangata Tiaki to issue him authorisations which allowed extensions of time and would then repeatedly dive the same authorisation gathering the total or close to the total each time he went out diving.

Mr Tapsell would then arrange with other members of the poaching ring for the paua to be on sold for a profit to other parties including fish and chip shops for up to five times below the true market value. A number of others have already been sentenced for their role in this operation.

In total over 1580 paua shells were recovered from Mr Tapsell’s address and between 395kg and 526kg of paua meat is believed to have been sold (though the Ministry considers this to be conservative). Text message information records that Mr Tapsell was selling his paua on the black market for between $22-$25 per kilogram, netting the group a profit of between $9085 and $12098.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Otago District Compliance Manager Murray Pridham, says that MPI is pleased to see the courts taking a strong stance on this type of offending.

"This sentence shows that offenders will receive significant prison time for committing serious fisheries offences," says Mr Pridham.

“Black market dealings in paua are effectively theft of a national resource. Poachers not only risk fish stocks but they are stealing from their communities and making it harder for compliant recreational fishers to enjoy fishing activities by taking more than their legal entitlement and benefitting from it."

“The offending is in reality a premeditated and complex commercial enterprise that may well have undercut those legitimate operators who rely on fish dealers to purchase their product, not to mention the potential health effects from selling paua that have not been processed in accordance with the required health standards.”

Under the Fisheries Act 1996 the maximum penalties for selling your recreational catch to obtain a benefit is five years' imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine.

The national paua limit is ten paua per person per day. Paua must be a minimum of 125 millimetres nationally (excluding some areas in the Taranaki region).

"Our fishery officers are entrusted with protecting our fish stocks. We also greatly appreciate the support of the community in reporting poachers and those who break the rules. If you see people acting suspiciously we want to know about it."

Fishery officers ask the public to report any suspicious activity in our fisheries by phoning 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are kept confidential.

For further information about fishing rules and limits visit www.fish.govt.nz. Alternatively you can get up-to-date fishing rules with the free MPI fishing app by texting 'app' to 9889 or visiting http://www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/MFish+Apps/default.htm


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

PM's Statement: Deadly Eruption Of Whakaari / White Island

At this stage, we can confirm that amongst those currently listed as missing or injured are New Zealanders who were part of the tour operation, and tourists from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. That is to the best of our knowledge.

To those who have lost or are missing family and friends, we share in your unfathomable grief at this moment in time, and in your sorrow. Your loved ones stood alongside kiwis who were hosting you here. We grieve with you, and we grieve with them... More>>

Police Update: Work Continues On Recovery; Clarification On Investigation
Police has been working with Defence and Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) to determine conditions on the island including gas levels in the atmosphere, so that we can understand the nature of the current conditions...
Police can also confirm we have commenced an investigation into the circumstances of the deaths and injuries on Whakaari / White Island... To correct an earlier statement, it is too early to confirm whether there will also be a criminal investigation. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Eruption And Tourism Safety
Adventure tourism is a central theme in New Zealand tourism, and by definition, adventure always includes a certain level of risk. That said, New Zealand itself is also at risk of being seen as a tourism destination where commercial factors – rather than safety factors – are routinely allowed to determine the point where the boundary line of acceptable risk is being drawn. More>>

 
 

Select Committee Report: Combatting Foreign Election Interference

MPs have finally delivered their recommendations to combat foreign interference in elections in a long awaited and much delayed report. More>>

Mosque Attacks: Names Of Arresting Officers Released

Police are now in the position to name the two officers involved in the arrest of the alleged gunman responsible for the attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques on March 15. More>>

Big, Bold, Permanent Change Needed: Children's Commissioner On 2019 Child Poverty Monitor

“I want to see family incomes dramatically raised by increasing benefits and making the minimum wage a living wage. And the Government needs to move much faster at increasing the supply of social housing..." More>>

ALSO:

RNZ Live Updates: Weather Mayhem Strands Tourists; Major Roads Closed

Hundreds of tourists are stranded on the West Coast, and on the other side of the South Island a flood-damaged bridge has closed State Highway 1, after a weekend of torrential rain... More>>

ALSO:

Policing: Armoured Specialist Police Vehicles

New Zealand Police has taken delivery of three Armoured Special Purpose Vehicles. The vehicles are unmarked and look like standard Toyota Land cruisers... They will not be used for patrol. More>>

Single Use PVC And Polystyrene Out: Next Steps On Plastic Waste

The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. More>>

ALSO:

Faafoi Statement: Minister's Suspicious Immigration Texts

I have apologised to the Prime Minister and understand I have let her down in regards to my dealings with Jason Kerrison over an immigration matter concerning his family. More>>

ALSO:

NZ First Conflicts Of Interest: New Details Around Timeline

New information has emerged showing it was the New Zealand First chief of staff who identified potential conflicts of interest between a forestry company and two senior government ministers, sparking a series of declarations. More>>

Earlier:

Donations:

Five New Cancer Meds In Six Months: Pharmac Funds More Cancer Medicines, Faster Assessment

PHARMAC has confirmed that two new medicines – olaparib for ovarian cancer and fulvestrant for breast cancer – have been approved for funding... Rituximab and bortezomib, which are already funded, have also been approved for widened access following successful commercial proposals from new suppliers. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels