An Auckland architect has been fined $1500 after being caught fishing for snapper in protected waters north of the city.

Karl Fenning, of West Auckland, was convicted of catching seven fish in the Cape Rodney-Okakari Point (Goat Island) Marine Reserve, near Leigh, early last month.

The 44-year-old pleaded guilty in the North Shore District Court.

The Department of Conservation released details of the case today, reminding people that all marine life in such reserves were protected by law.


"It is illegal to take fish or any other marine life from a reserve. This protection is provided so scientists can study areas where the marine life is left undisturbed,'' a DoC statement said.

Fenning was spotted and photographed catching the snapper by two honorary marine rangers on September 6.

They tracked his boat to the Omaha Beach boat ramp and approached him about the fish.

The snapper and fishing gear found on board were all seized as a result.

DoC senior biodiversity ranger Thelma Wilson said it was disappointing someone had been fishing in the reserve and welcomed the penalty.

"This is New Zealand's oldest marine reserve established 41 years ago.

"It's well-known and is well sign posted,'' she said.

"Anyone who goes fishing needs to know the location of marine reserves.''