Date: 28 January 2009
A text message claiming that Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve near Gisborne will be open for fishing on January 29th and 30th is a hoax according to Department of Conservation (DOC) Area Manager, Andy Bassett.
“We have been advised that a text message is being widely circulated in the Gisborne area stating that fishing will be permitted in the marine reserve. This is absolute nonsense and we wouldn’t expect any intelligent person to believe it. However, anyone inclined to act on the message should be aware that DOC and Ministry of Fisheries staff will be patrolling the marine reserve and anyone caught attempting to fish or taking seafood will be prosecuted,” Mr Bassett said.
Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, sixteen kilometres north of Gisborne, was established in 2000 to protect approximately 2450 hectares of coastal water. Local iwi, Ngati Konohi were involved the nine-year process of setting up the reserve as a means of restoring marine life in the area.
All life and natural features in the reserve are totally protected. It is illegal for anyone to take, disturb, kill or damage anything within the reserve. Anyone who commits an offence may be subject to a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment.
“The irresponsibility of the idiots who started and are spreading this text message is hard to fathom. Hopefully, people who receive this message will treat it as the joke that it is,” Mr Bassett said.