A Hawke's Bay man has been sentenced to home detention after selling close to 100 illegally harvested crayfish on the black-market.
Quentin Teremoana Hawkins sold 97 recreationally caught crayfish from the Waimarama area between December 2018 and March 2019.
The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to 12 charges under the Fisheries Act and was sentenced at Hastings District Court on Thursday to four months and two weeks' home detention.
A Ministry for Primary Industries investigation, entitled Operation Uncle, discovered two others involved in the sales of illegally caught crayfish - one has pleaded not guilty to similar fisheries charges and the other is yet to enter pleas.
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MPI officers closed in on Hawkins' activities after being alerted to sales of crayfish on a Facebook page called "Boycott Online Hawkes Bay". Further investigation linked the trio to the black-market sales.
According to MPI district team leader fisheries compliance Tyrone Robinson, at the time of the incident, the wholesale value of the 97 crayfish Hawkins sold was about $4801.50.
Hawkins received between $1455 and $1940 on the black-market.
"The rules and regulations are there to protect our precious fishing resources for all New Zealanders," Robinson said.
"Waimarama is an area under pressure. Poachers deplete the resource for everyone – our message to them is that we will continue to target and stop them."
The recreational vessel Kaiwaka that was used to harvest the crayfish has been forfeit to the Crown.