Gisborne man prosecuted for taking crayfish and kina from marine reserve
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionA joint interagency co-operation between DOC and Ministry of Fisheries resulted in the prosecution of a Gisborne man for taking 16 crayfish and 42 kina from Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.
Date: 06 July 2010
A joint interagency co-operation between Department of Conservation (DOC) and Ministry of Fisheries (MOF) resulted in the successful prosecution of 34 year old unemployed Gisborne man, Whetu Akuhata for taking 16 crayfish and 42 kina from Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.
Mr Akuhata appeared in the Gisborne District Court last week charged with taking marine life from Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, possessing rock lobster in excess of limit and possessing undersized rock lobster. He pleaded guilty to these charges and was fined 350 hours community service, $130 court costs and forfeiture of his gear to the Crown.
DOC Gisborne Whakatane Area Manager, Andy Bassett said this offence was committed with full knowledge of the marine reserve existing due to signage and day markers clearly identifying the northern and southern boundaries of the reserve. An attempt to conceal the catch of 16 crayfish and 42 kina under a pile of seaweed on the beach of the marine reserve was determined following a search of the beach by DOC and Fishery Officers. Mr Akuhata questioned later by Fishery Officers admitted to the offence.
“The marine reserve is a protected place and people who think they can get away with taking marine life will be caught. We hope that this conviction will make people think before they break the law. I am pleased that the judiciary are continuing to support the hard work of conservation and fisheries staff to protect the marine environment.” said Mr Bassett.
MOF Gisborne District Field Operations Manager, Tom Teneti said, “Local Tangata Whenua, Ngati Konohi were key drivers in the establishment of the Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve over 10 years ago, so it is great for the Ministry of Fisheries to be able to support their sustainability aspirations for future generations and to work in co-operation with DOC to deter against this type of offending”.
DOC and Fisheries staff take this offending very seriously and will be continuing to work together to protect the marine reserve and prosecute offenders.