Biodiversity ranger Dave Wrightson surveys the fish seized from Mr Sun’s boat back in May
Xiaobin Sun pleaded guilty to taking 29 fish from the marine reserve while fishing from a small boat in May this year. He was fined $1,000, plus $130 in court costs, when he appeared in the Wellington District Court on Friday (December 1).
Department of Conservation (DOC) Kapiti Wellington operations manager Jack Mace says DOC has a "no tolerance" policy for people who break the law by fishing in a marine reserve.
He says it appears Xiaobin Sun did not intentionally set out to fish inside the reserve. "That's no excuse. This case sends a clear message: If you fish in a marine reserve, you will be caught and you will pay the price for your offending."
The maximum sentence for taking marine life from a reserve is three months in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
In sentencing Xiaobin Sun the judge took into account his remorse for his offending, his early guilty plea and the fact that English is his second language.
DOC was alerted to his offending in May this year when a member of the public called 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) after seeing a boat fishing near Island Bay.
A ranger was able to track the boat back to Seaview Marina where Ministry of Primary Industries(MPI) fisheries officers and DOC staff spoke to Mr. Sun.
The 854-hectare Taputeranga Marine Reserve extends approximately 2.3 km off Wellington's south coast covering the area around Houghton, Island and Owhiro Bays.
Large yellow markers denote its east and west boundaries for vessels at sea, and shore-based signs at all marinas and boat ramps advise people of the rules.
Mr. Mace says, "The community's vigilance has paid off. The eagle-eyed member of the public who alerted us to this offending deserves full credit for this outcome."
"As the warm summer ramps up, we encourage Wellingtonians to keep alert and let us know if they see anything suspicious in either Taputeranga or Kapiti marine reserves."
Anyone who spots suspicious activity in a marine reserve including taking of fish or shellfish should call 0800 DOC HOT(0800 362 468).
The 29 illegally caught fish included 15 blue cod