Introduction

The man who pleaded guilty to whitebait offences appeared in the Ruatoria Court charged with whitebait offences last week.

Date:  07 May 2010

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is pleased with the successful prosecution of  53 year old Hicks Bay farmer Hona Taiapa who appeared in the Ruatoria Court charged with whitebait offences last week.

With Justice Harding presiding Mr Taiapa was charged with leaving his net unattended last season. He pleaded guilty and was fined $400 and the Court ordered his seized net be forfeited to the Crown.

“The Court views the $400 fine and forfeiture seriously. Even those people who break the rules in isolated places if caught the message is clear that they get fined and will lose their net.” said Mike Bodie, prosecutor for DOC after the court proceedings.

Gisborne Whakatane Area Manager, Andy Bassett said Mr Taiapa had left his whitebait net unattended in the Wharekahika River near Hicks Bay.  There was no person within 10 metres of the net which is an offence under the Whitebait Fishing Regulations 1994.  There was also no other equipment with the net that is usually associated with a person being with a net while whitebaiting.

“We hope that this conviction will make people think before they break the Regulations and leave a whitebait net unattended.  I am pleased that the judiciary are continuing to support the hard work of conservation staff to protect and manage the whitebait fishery” said Mr Bassett.

DOC staff will be continuing to patrol fishing sites to check that people are abiding by the regulations when the whitebait season commences on 15 August.

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