A Porirua man, with previous fisheries offences, was convicted in court this week after pleading guilty to illegally taking marine life from the Taputeranga Marine Reserve off Wellington’s south coast.
Nenaia Fiu, was fined $1000 plus court costs of $132.89. “It is a serious matter, marine reserves are there for a purpose and fishing in a marine reserve is not acceptable” commented Judge Mill.
“It is common knowledge that this area is a (marine) reserve”.
Rob Stone, Department of Conservation Kapiti Wellington Area Manager, noted that this was the first prosecution since the establishment of the reserve in August 2008, following a period of active engagement with the public.
Taputeranga Marine Reserve map
“We wanted to make sure we had a case that was really solid and would stick”.
Mr Stone also commented that incidences of alleged offending had been lower than anticipated and that this was encouraging, “Even though the reserve is still young we expect to see increases in fish size and abundance in coming years”.
“This may increase the temptation for people to take illegally and we are pleased a clear message has been sent that offences in the Taputeranga Marine Reserve will not be tolerated”.
Under the Marine Reserves Act those found fishing (including any attempt to take) or removing marine life from the reserve could be liable for a prison term up to 3 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
DOC advises that any suspicious activity within the reserve should be reported to the DOC Hotline on 0800 362 468.