The Department of Conservation (DOC) is pleased with the successful prosecution of 41 year old Computer Programmer Lance Gordon Warren of Auckland who appeared before Judge Harding in the Whakatane District Court last week.
Mr Warren was located by DOC and Ministry of Fisheries staff, fishing in Te Paepae o Aotea Marine Reserve on 27th January 2010. Mr Warren’s large RIB vessel was located by the Rangers 130m inside the reserve with all occupants jig fishing. Mr Warren was the skipper of the vessel and admitted to the Rangers that he knew of the marine reserve. Warren was not fishing in the tournament organised by the Whakatane Sport Fishing Club being held at the time.
Mr Warren pleaded guilty at the start of a defended hearing. Judge Harding Convicted Mr Warren and ordered him to pay $500 costs to the Department of Conservation plus $130 court costs.
“This is another good result for the protection of marine biodiversity, the inter-agency approach that was successful in this case will be ongoing and will undoubtedly enhance the protection of Te Paepae o Aotea Marine Reserve” said Gisborne Whakatane Area Compliance Officer, Jaime Quirk.
Te Paepae o Aotea Marine Reserve (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 treasure protected now and in the future for all to enjoy.