Fisheries prosecutions before court

Admitting he took 64 excess and undersized paua, Wiremu Hemi Taka, 26, was sentenced by Gisborne District Court to 120 hours community work.

These were first fisheries offences for Taka.

Taka could have been fined but could not afford to pay a fine, the court was told.

The daily bag limit for paua is 10 per person per day. The minimum size is 125mm for the black foot paua (Haliotis iris) and 80mm for the yellow foot species (Haliotis australis).

For possession of 44 excess and undersized rock lobster, which he admitted, Joe Keelan, 47, truck driver, was fined a total of $1650, with court costs totalling $260.

Of the fine, $1000 was for the excess paua.

Keelan was found by fisheries officers at Waipiro Bay on December 21 last year with five bags of seafood. Four of the bags contained legally-taken kina, the other contained the illegal crays.

Keelan said the crays were for a work and family function.

He had previously been issued permits to take crays for such functions but on this occasion, he simply risked gathering the food without one.

The daily bag limit for rock lobster is six per person (for both packhorse and spiny rock lobster species).

The legal size for female spiny rock lobsters is a tail length of 60mm, for males 54mm. The tail of the packhorse species, male or female, must measure at least 216mm.

Rock lobsters cannot be taken if they are females carrying external eggs, are in the soft shell stage or cannot be measured (eg due to a damaged tail).

The 68 excess and undersized paua he admitted taking were for his mate’s 21st birthday party, Marley Williams, 26, forestry logger, told fisheries officers.

He was fined a total of $1000 with court costs totalling $260.

Judge Warren Cathcart said the level of the fine was adjusted for Williams’ joint possession of the illegal shell fish with a co-offender, yet to be sentenced.

Counsel Leighvi Maynard said the offending was out of character for Williams.

Shane Arthur Barber, 43, ACC beneficiary, confirmed he took 33 rock lobster, of which 31 were undersized.

It was not his first fisheries offence. In 2010 he was convicted of obstructing fishery officers.

Taking into account Barber’s status as a beneficiary, Judge Cathcart fined him $1000 for the excess fish and $500 for the undersized fish. The judge imposed court costs totalling $260.

Barber said he could afford to pay the fines from his sickness benefit of about $600 a week.

A probation officer said the alternative of community work would require ACC’s agreement.

Judge Cathcart noted the maximum penalty for the charges was a fine of $250,000. Barber should recognise from that just how seriously Parliament regarded this type of offending.

Admitting he took 64 excess and undersized paua, Wiremu Hemi Taka, 26, was sentenced by Gisborne District Court to 120 hours community work.

These were first fisheries offences for Taka.

Taka could have been fined but could not afford to pay a fine, the court was told.

The daily bag limit for paua is 10 per person per day. The minimum size is 125mm for the black foot paua (Haliotis iris) and 80mm for the yellow foot species (Haliotis australis).

For possession of 44 excess and undersized rock lobster, which he admitted, Joe Keelan, 47, truck driver, was fined a total of $1650, with court costs totalling $260.

Of the fine, $1000 was for the excess paua.

Keelan was found by fisheries officers at Waipiro Bay on December 21 last year with five bags of seafood. Four of the bags contained legally-taken kina, the other contained the illegal crays.

Keelan said the crays were for a work and family function.

He had previously been issued permits to take crays for such functions but on this occasion, he simply risked gathering the food without one.

The daily bag limit for rock lobster is six per person (for both packhorse and spiny rock lobster species).

The legal size for female spiny rock lobsters is a tail length of 60mm, for males 54mm. The tail of the packhorse species, male or female, must measure at least 216mm.

Rock lobsters cannot be taken if they are females carrying external eggs, are in the soft shell stage or cannot be measured (eg due to a damaged tail).

The 68 excess and undersized paua he admitted taking were for his mate’s 21st birthday party, Marley Williams, 26, forestry logger, told fisheries officers.

He was fined a total of $1000 with court costs totalling $260.

Judge Warren Cathcart said the level of the fine was adjusted for Williams’ joint possession of the illegal shell fish with a co-offender, yet to be sentenced.

Counsel Leighvi Maynard said the offending was out of character for Williams.

Shane Arthur Barber, 43, ACC beneficiary, confirmed he took 33 rock lobster, of which 31 were undersized.

It was not his first fisheries offence. In 2010 he was convicted of obstructing fishery officers.

Taking into account Barber’s status as a beneficiary, Judge Cathcart fined him $1000 for the excess fish and $500 for the undersized fish. The judge imposed court costs totalling $260.

Barber said he could afford to pay the fines from his sickness benefit of about $600 a week.

A probation officer said the alternative of community work would require ACC’s agreement.

Judge Cathcart noted the maximum penalty for the charges was a fine of $250,000. Barber should recognise from that just how seriously Parliament regarded this type of offending.

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