The Department of Conservation (DOC) is pleased with the signal sent to 57 year old Opotiki man, Peter Warren, who was remanded in custody after being found guilty of illegal whitebaiting and obstruction. Mr Warren appeared in the Opotiki District Court on Thursday 28 July 2011 on six charges in relation to whitebaiting offences which occurred in 2010.
Mr Warren was found by DOC rangers on three separate occasions fishing within 20 metres of a structure and obstructing the rangers. Police attended two of the offences. Mr Warren threatened rangers on all three occasions and refused to hand over nets. His nets were finally seized with the assistance of Police with the threat of pepper spray and handcuffs.
Acting Gisborne Whakatane Area Manager James Holborow said “DOC rangers are protecting the whitebait fishery for future generations and the repeated actions of Mr Warren show scant regard for the sustainability of the whitebait.”
“I would like to thank NZ Police for their assistance as Mr Warren was particularly threatening to DOC staff.”
Mr Warren was remanded in custody by Judge Tom Ingram until 6 October 2011 for sentencing. This case is likely to be the first custodial sentence imposed for whitebait fisheries offences.