New Zealand Law Society - Paua poacher banned from fishing for 3 years

Paua poacher banned from fishing for 3 years

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Sonny Gilbert Wairau aged 39 of Brooklyn, Wellington has been banned from fishing for 3 years and ordered to serve 7 months home detention after earlier pleading guilty in Wellington District Court to more than 20 charges under the Fisheries Act 1996, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.

Wairau was sentenced for his part in a black market operation which involved three main offenders that called themselves "The Pāua Corporation".

Over a seven-month period, the men illegally took 257kg of greenweight pāua and 31kg of sea cucumbers from around the Wellington coastline and then illegally sold the pāua and sea cucumbers.

The value of the pāua, if sold legitimately, was more than $17,000.

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman, Steve Ham, says the men acted jointly as well as separately in contravention of the Fisheries Act.

“At the time of offending, Wairau was a prohibited fisher due to past offending and so also faced 10  charges of contravening a prohibition order.

Various items of fishing gear that Wairau used in the commission of his offending was forfeited to the Crown.

The other two offenders are currently also before the court.