Shellfish poacher forfeits car

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A woman who appeared in the Manukau District Court yesterday had her $128,000 car (Audi Q7) forfeited to the Crown after pleading guilty to poaching a huge haul of shellfish. 

The charge related to an incident in June 2014 when Ministry for Primary Industries Honorary Fishery Officers responded to a call from the public on 0800 4POACHER concerning excess shellfish being taken from an Auckland Eastern Suburbs beach.

Xiaojuan Wei, a local resident, was gathering shellfish with her mother when the officers arrived.

When inspected, it was found that Wei had gathered 1,162 cockles, 183 whelks. A further 960 oysters were located in their vehicle.

The daily legal entitlement for cockle gatherers is 50. Rock oysters and whelks can make up part of a combined limit of 50 other specified shellfish species per gatherer per day.

Judge Blackie gave Wei a dressing down for being greedy, convicted her, fined her $1,500, and ordered her to pay court costs of $130 in addition to ordering the forfeiture of her car.

MPI District Compliance Manager Mike Simmons says: "People who exceed their daily limits of shellfish can expect to be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

“Shellfish form a vital part of the sea environment and the food chain. The depletion of shellfish by gatherers who flout the rules has lasting effects on the sea environment.”     

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