A man who sold over half a tonne of rock lobster on the black market has been sentenced to eight months' home detention and can't fish for three years.
Jason Dewi Taylor, 49, illegally harvested about 1500 rock lobsters from Tolaga Bay, north of Gisborne.
He was sentenced at the Rotorua District Court on Friday.
In December, he pleaded guilty to 15 charges under the Fisheries Act, relating to illegally taking and selling an estimated 596kg of fish from Tolaga Bay.
The lobsters were sold in Kawerau, Rotorua and the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Between February and October 2019, Taylor sold rock lobster at family homes in Kawerau and Rotorua, or he would meet with buyers at prearranged locations.
The rock lobster was usually sold pre-cooked and frozen for between $700 and $1310 per load.
When Taylor was confronted by Fishery Officers at his Tolaga Bay home, he was found to be in possession of 161 rock lobster.
His explanation was that he had swapped and bartered seafood but never sold it.
He said that a term "liveys" in text messages were for the sale of live sheep, and the term "baiting" referred to the baiting of possum traps.
While the cash return on the black market was over $16,300, on the retail and domestic market the lobster would have been valued at nearly $60,000.
Judge Phillip Cooper told Taylor "yours was a very blatant and irresponsible course of offending".
Ministry for Primary Industries acting director of compliance services Steve Ham said Taylor's offending had significantly undercut the legitimate market.
"This was an example of total disregard for the rules and intentional stealing of valuable kaimoana from all people who live in this coastal area," he said.
Suspected illegal activity can be reported to MPI by calling 0800 4 Poacher (0800 47 62 24).