13 Dec 2017

Fined $16k for fishing in marine reserve

2:48 pm on 13 December 2017

A commercial fisherman from Nelson has been fined $16,000 for fishing in a West Coast marine reserve.

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Photo: 123rf.com

The Department of Conservation (DOC) says Leon Taswell Wallace had earlier admitted a charge of taking fish from the Kahurangi Marine Reserve.

DOC said rangers were in a helicopter and spotted a fishing boat trawling in the reserve in September last year.

Wallace told them he was not aware of the marine reserve, as the charts on board were old and a chart plotter was not working.

DOC said the fine was the largest given for commercial fishing in a marine reserve.

DOC spokesperson Bob Dickson said people had a responsibility to ensure they knew where marine reserves were and their boundaries.

"Kahurangi Marine Reserve is one of five West Coast marine reserves established more than three years ago. They all lie alongside national parks, creating mountains to sea protected areas.

"This case is a reminder that people who fish inside these marine reserves can expect to be prosecuted."

The Kahurangi Marine Reserve is one of New Zealand's largest, covering about 84 square kilometres.