Fishing while banned earned a Kaikohe man six months home detention in Kaikohe District Court yesterday (20 August).
Daniel Elvis Moke, 32, of Kaikohe, had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to comply with a banning order, and further charges of having undersize paua and more paua than the daily recreational limit.
Judge Ongley sentenced him to six months home detention for the two charges of breaching his banning order, and fined him $1500 on the other charges. A vehicle used in the offending was forfeit to the Crown.
Mr Moke was banned from fishing for three years in April 2012, under a provision in the Fisheries Act to deal with repeat offenders. (A person can be banned after being convicted on two or more fisheries charges committed on different occasions within a seven year period.)
Ministry for Primary Industries Compliance Officers stopped Mr Moke on 8 December 2014 at a routine inspection at Kawerua, north of Dargaville. He had 10 paua, 9 of which were under the 125mm minimum size limit.
Mr Moke told the officers he had been a banned fisher, but his ban had finished. His ban wasn’t due to finish until April 2015.
On 20 December, Mr Moke was part of a group of five stopped at Kawerua that had 247 paua between them. He admitted to taking 28 paua and again told officers his ban had finished. The recreational limit for paua is 10 per person per day.
MPI Acting District Compliance Manager Northland Stephen Rudsdale says paua is highly valued by the community and has a limited distribution on Northland’s predominantly sandy west coast.
“Illegal over-fishing puts paua stocks at risk. The sentence clearly shows the court takes repeat fisheries offences very seriously.”
MPI encourages people to report any suspicious fishing activity to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are confidential.