Date: 10 August 2016
Mr Anaru Rihari of Gisborne was sentenced by Judge Partridge in the North Shore District Court to one month imprisonment for taking marine life from Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.
DOC Operations Manager, John Lucas says marine reserves are very important for the protection of marine biodiversity and Mr Rihari offending was very disappointing. "This sentencing sends a strong message and should be a deterrent to others not to take from the marine reserve" says Mr Lucas.
On 4 October 2015, Mr Rihari and three associates arrived by vehicle at the marine reserve carpark, and were observed gathering shellfish. A DOC Ranger and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Officer found Mr Rihari in possession of 32 kina and 3 Cooks Turbans. The catch bag was seized and the marine life returned to the water. The catch bag has subsequently been forfeited to the Crown.
DOC and MPI work together to ensure the protection of the marine environment. MPI District Compliance Manager, Tom Teneti says "offending of this nature is disappointing for both Departments as our combined efforts in ensuring "fish for the future" are hamstrung by offenders who have little regard for the next generations."
Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve comprises 2450ha and was established in 1999. The reserve is special in that it contains eight marine habitat types including inshore reef, rocky intertidal platforms and sediment flats, that are representative of marine habitats that exist between East Cape and Mahia.
- Marine reserves are areas of the ocean where all marine life are fully protected.
- Marine reserves are managed by the DOC under the Marine Reserves Act 1971 to protect areas, for the scientific study of marine life, that contain underwater scenery, natural features or marine life of such distinctive quality, beauty, uniqueness, or so typical, that their preservation is in the national interest.
- There are currently 43 marine reserves in New Zealand. The status of the marine reserve is the strongest legal protection available to the marine environment, and all forms of fishing are prohibited.
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