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Most expensive paua meal ever
Posted at 6:44am Thursday 06 Apr, 2017
An Auckland man has landed a bill for what’s possibly the most expensive meal of paua ever, after being fined $8500 for buying the shellfish on the black market.
He is one of six people convicted and fined in the Manukau District Court on Friday over Fisheries Act offences. The fines range from between $1500 and $8500.
A person considered the lead diver, who illegally took almost half a tonne of paua, has been sentenced to eight months home detention and 150 hours community service. His associate was fined $3000 plus court costs of $130.
The Ministry for Primary Industries started an investigation in January 2015 when the initial focus was centred on the activities of a Northland-based kina poaching operation.
Two separate operations began after inquiries revealed the existence of an associated group of offenders, operating out of the Auckland/ Coromandel area, who were involved in the illegal take and sale of paua, says MPI’s Team Manager Compliance Investigations Northern Region, Simon Anderson.
“We subsequently exercised search warrants across the Auckland region focussing on the alleged divers and the buyers of illegally taken paua,” says Simon.
“Large quantities of paua were seized along with cell phones belonging to the alleged offenders. Charges were laid in early 2016 with all offenders pleading guilty.
“The operation will be concluded when three other people associated with the offending are dealt with by the courts in the near future.”
There’s no excuse for this sort of offending, says Simon.
“If everybody went around taking more than their fair share of a resource such as paua, there would be nothing left for future generations.
“Paua is enjoyed by a great many New Zealanders. It is a valuable resource and its sustainability will become an issue if this sort of irresponsible and illegal behaviour continues.
“Our investigators and compliance offices did an outstanding job in detecting this offending and ensured those responsible and involved in what was an elaborate operation, were held to account.”