A Hawke's Bay man who sold 97 illegally harvested crayfish on the black market has been sentenced to 4 months and 2 weeks home detention.
Quentin Teremoana Hawkins (46) was sentenced in the Hastings District Court yesterday (13 May 2021). He earlier pleaded guilty to 12 charges under the Fisheries Act.
An MPI investigation called 'Operation Uncle' discovered sales of illegally caught crayfish from the Waimārama area, between December 2018 and March 2019. Two other people are involved – one has pleaded not guilty to similar fisheries charges and the other person is yet to enter pleas.
"The rules and regulations are there to protect our precious fishing resources for all New Zealanders. Waimārama is an area under pressure. Poachers deplete the resource for everyone – our message to them is that we will continue to target and stop them," says MPI district team leader fisheries compliance, Tyrone Robinson.
MPI closed in on the activities of Mr Hawkins and the others after being alerted to sales of crayfish on a Facebook site called 'Boycott Online Hawke's Bay'. Further investigation linked the trio to the black market sales.
At the time, the wholesale value of the 97 crayfish Mr Hawkins sold was about $4,801.50. Mr Hawkins received between $1,455 and $1,940 on the black-market.
The recreational vessel 'Kaiwaka' that was used to harvest the crayfish has been forfeited to the Crown.
MPI encourages people to report suspected illegal activity through the ministry's 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 47 62 24).
Recreational fishers are encouraged to download the free NZ Fishing Rules app