Mr Scott Slater of Auckland was convicted in the Whakatane District Court by Judge Clapham for fishing within the boundaries of Te Paepae o Aotea Marine Reserve in January last year.
On 27th January 2010, the Department of Conservation (DOC) Rangers located a vessel 150 metres inside Te Paepae o Aotea Marine Reserve. Mr Slater was one of three fishermen on the vessel. He was fined $1000 and court costs of $130. The two other fishermen have also been processed through the court system. He was not fishing in the tournament organised by the Whakatane Sport Fishing Club being held at the time.
Gisborne Whakatane Area Manager, Andy Bassett said “marine reserves are very important for the protection of marine biodiversity and it is disappointing that people like Mr Slater go fishing in marine reserves when there are ample opportunities and sites to fish legally outside.”
Te Paepae o Aotea (Volkner Rocks) has now been in place for 5 years. Information is available at all ramp access sites and on the DOC website. Te Paepae o Aotea is a small but important piece in a network of marine reserves. Marine reserves protect representatives of coastal and marine species and habitats. As these are no-take areas, plant and animal communities flourish, precious treasures protected now and in the future for all to enjoy.