A Flaxmere man has been fined $650 plus costs for attempting to take kina from Te Angiangi Marine Reserve in Central Hawke's Bay.
In December 2016, Department of Conservation ranger Rod Hansen observed Nicholas Eugene Gullery at Stingray Bay, within the boundary of the 446ha marine reserve, between Blackhead and Aramoana Beach.
The ranger saw Gullery taking marine life, kina, from the marine reserve and placing them in two sacks.
When first approached, Gullery initially denied knowledge of the marine reserve. He said that he had driven to the reserve via Gibraltar Rd and onto the beach at Aramoana.
Hansen pointed out this meant he had driven past seven road signs informing the public about the presence of the Marine Reserve.
Gullery then claimed he thought the marine reserve only protected fish.
At Hastings court this week, Gullery pleaded guilty to an offence under the Marine Reserve Act.
Community Magistrate Robyn Paterson said she did not believe Mr Gullery didn't know it was a marine reserve due to the signage, and he needed to have taken greater care.
She also noted the importance of marine reserves which is reflected in the high maximum penalty, which is up to $10,000.
Hawkes Bay Operations Manager Connie Norgate said it was a good outcome.
"This sends a good message of deterrence.
"Te Angiangi Marine Reserve has been in place since 1997 and we take offending of this nature very seriously."
"Marine Reserves are areas of the coastal and marine environment in which marine life and natural features are fully protected.
"They help allow the ecosystems within them to return to near their former glory, supporting an increase in local fish stocks."
Te Angiangi Marine Reserve, which lies along the coast 30km from both Waipukurau and Waipawa, celebrates its 20th anniversary later this year.
It protects an area along the rugged central coast where the waters of the warmer East Cape Current and the colder Southland Current mingle, which makes it an ideal location for an abundance of both northern and southern marine species.