Two beneficiaries caught illegally selling snapper on the roadside have had their fishing boat confiscated.

Troy Douglas Latimer, 36, and Jacqueline Habib, 40, from Thames were found selling snapper and kahawai from the boot of their car in a South Auckland street last June.

The pair had caught the fish the day before off the Thames Coast from Latimer's 4.88-metre fibreglass boat, a court has heard.

They then drove to Auckland, parked on the roadside and offered the fish for sale using a sign that read: 'Snapper for sale $5/$7'.


Questioned by fishery officers the pair admitted selling 23 fish, weighing around 30kg and earning around $150.

They told the officers times had been tough financially and they believed they were allowed to sell the fish they had caught.

Brendon Mikkelsen, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry compliance manager for the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Coromandel, said: "All fishers should know that recreationally-caught fish cannot be sold or traded."

Latimer and Habib both pleaded guilty to possessing fish unlawfully for sale when they appeared in the Waihi District Court earlier this week.

As well as sentencing the pair to 140 hours of community service each Judge McKegg also ordered Latimer's boat, its 70hp outboard motor and its trailer, together worth approximately $3500, be forfeited to the Crown.

Mr Mikkelsen says it was disappointing see such blatant offending.

"Our fishery officers and honorary fishery officers have been very busy this summer. We have conducted land and sea patrols, set up checkpoints and talked with hundreds of fishers," he said.

"Unfortunately, while the vast majority have been well behaved, known the rules and kept to them, a persistent minority has not.

"This small percentage continues to break the rules, rules that are there to protect our fisheries and to ensure a healthy resource for future generations."