Two North Shore fishermen have completed their punishment after being caught fishing in protected waters last year.
The men, aged 51 and 56, admitted in the North Shore District Court in December to taking marine life from the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve, breaching the Marine Reserves Act 1971.
Under the Act, it is illegal to take, or attempt to take, any marine life from a marine reserve.

The men completed 12 hours' community work, 12 hours' cleaning up the beach along the marine reserve they violated, and they paid the Department of Conservation (DOC) $500 each.

They also submitted a written apology for their offending.

The incident happened last May when two DOC rangers saw the fishermen on a boat inside the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve, located on the east coast just north of Auckland.

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After coming ashore, the rangers spoke to the pair and asked them if they realised they were fishing inside the reserve.

The skipper said the pair had taken care to stay outside the reserve and produced a laminated map in their defence.

However, DOC was able to prove the pair were inside the reserve using photographs and GPS technology.

The Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve was established in 1995 to preserve the area as a typical slice of the Hauraki Gulf.

DOC marine ranger Martin Stanley said marine reserves exist to protect marine life and distinct features worth preserving.

This can include underwater scenery, natural features and marine life whose preservation is in the national interest.

"Fishing in a marine reserve will not be tolerated and anyone caught doing so will be taken to court,'' he said.