A man who poached 257kg of paua from around Wellington has been banned from fishing for three years and given home detention close to Whangarei Harbour.
Sonny Gilbert Wairau, 38, appeared in Wellington District Court last week for sentence after pleading guilty to 40 charges of illegally selling paua, offering to sell them, and breaching the prohibition order.
Wairau was part of a gang who poached hundreds of kilograms of paua and sea cucumber from around Wellington
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) operation involved three main offenders that called themselves The Paua Corporation.
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Over a 7 month period, the men illegally took 257kg of greenweight paua and 31kg of sea cucumbers from around the Wellington coastline and then illegally sold the paua and sea cucumbers. The value of the pāua, if sold legitimately, was more than $17,000.
MPI spokesman, Steve Ham, says the men acted jointly as well as separately in contravention of the Fisheries Act.
On Friday Wairau was banned from fishing for three years and MPI confirmed he was given seven months' home detention to be served at an address in Whangarei.
MPI said Wairau was sentenced to serve home detention in Whangarei due to a change of circumstances from the time he was picked him up to the time he was sentenced.
"At the time of offending, Wairau was a prohibited fisher due to past offending and so also faced 10 charges of contravening a prohibition order,'' Mr Ham said.
"This was an elaborate operation that saw large amounts of paua and sea cucumbers taken and then sold unlawfully. This sort of offending, especially around the Wellington region, has a serious effect on the sustainability of the stock and it deprives future generations of a resource that they are legitimately entitled to enjoy and consume."
Various items of fishing gear that Wairau used in the commission of his offending was forfeited to the Crown. The other two alleged poachers are still before the court.