Paua poachers fined
Three poachers were caught twice in one day taking undersized paua from Pukerua Bay.
Allan Richard Bowen, 43, Edward William Bligh, 29, and Glenis Dawn Tipene, 46, were convicted in Porirua District Court last Tuesday.
Bowen and Tipene are from Rongotea in Manawatu, and Bligh is from Bulls.
On September 3, the group travelled together in Tipene’s car to the beach on State Highway 1 just north of Pukerua Bay.
The area is protected from shellfish gathering, because it has been over-fished in the past and needs to recover.
Bowen and Bligh gathered paua and kina by hand and put their catch into two bags, said David Fordyce, lawyer for the Ministry for Primary Industries.
They put one bag in the back of Tipene’s car and left the other by the same police officer, who recognised their car. The second sack contained 60 kina and 127 undersized paua.
Bowen and Bligh admitted diving but denied knowing Pukerua Bay was a closed area, Mr Fordyce said.
The group’s lawyer, Jewelly McVay, said her clients were willing to pay a fine, but as all were unemployed they could afford to pay only $20 a week.
Judge John Walker convicted all three of possessing excess paua and undersized paua.
He fined each $2000 plus $130 court costs.
Bowen and Bligh were convicted and discharged for taking fish from a closed area.
‘‘Taking young paua means the breeding population is reduced, and taking more than your fair share is simply not fair on everybody else,’’ Judge Walker said.
Wanted: Police want the public’s assistance to find this man.