Three observant members of the public helped the Department of Conservation apprehend two men taking paua from Wellington’s Taputeranga Marine Reserve.
Under the Marine Reserves Act 1971 it is an offence to take marine life from a marine reserve. The three onlookers at Island Bay witnessed the offenders with paua in their hands. One man phoned the Department of Conservation and waited for DOC compliance officers to arrive.
The onlookers recorded the time; took clear photographs; were able to describe what the offenders looked like, what they were doing and details about their vehicle.
“The key to a successful prosecution is the gathering of the right type of accurate information,” says DOC spokesperson Peter Simpson.
“These three members of the public gave us particularly useful information about the offenders’ vehicle.”
Two of the onlookers spotted the offenders’ car at a building site on their way home and it was this information that led a DOC compliance officer to track down the offenders, leading to a prosecution.
One of the offenders has been offered diversion and the other has been dealt with by the court and received a fine and court costs.
“Locals are at doing a great job of keeping an eye on Taputeranga and letting us know when they see any suspicious activity. While we appreciate any information about alleged offences, it’s important that members of the public should never put themselves at risk,” said Simpson.
There have been eight prosecution cases since the establishment of Taputeranga Marine Reserve in 2008. ENDS