24 Feb 2021

Wellington marine reserve pāua thief jailed for two months

4:26 pm on 24 February 2021

A Wellington man caught stealing 50 pāua from a marine reserve has been jailed for two months.


Disturbing marine life in a reserve is prohibited, MPI says. (file pic) Photo: Supplied

Carl Patterson, 31, collected the pāua from the Taputeranga Marine Reserve on Wellington's south coast in July 2019.

When he was confronted by a member of the public he dropped his catch bag and drove away.

Ministry for Primary Industries Fisheries Compliance regional manager for lower North Island, Mike Green, said disturbing marine life in reserves is prohibited.

"With the exception being for monitoring and research, and a permit is required."

Patterson was convicted and sentenced in the Hutt Valley District Court on one charge of obstruction under the Fisheries Act and one charge under the Marine Reserves Act.

He will serve his prison time concurrently with an 18-month sentence on unrelated charges.

MPI encourages fishing industry operators and non-commercial fishers to report any suspected illegal activity through the ministry's 0800 4 Poacher number (0800 47 62 24).