6 Jul 2010

Seafood thief sentenced

11:43 am on 6 July 2010

A Gisborne man convicted of stealing seafood from a marine reserve has been sentenced to 350 hours of community service, as well as court costs.

He was also forced to forfeit his dive gear.

Whetu Akuhata, 34, unemployed, pleaded guilty in the Gisborne District Court on Tuesday to charges arising from an incident at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako marine reserve at Pouawa north of the city.

He was surprised on a beach at the reserve by Department of Conservation and Fisheries officers.

Akuhata tried to hide his catch of 16 crayfish and 42 kina under a pile of seaweed but the officers found it.

DoC and Fisheries say they take this type of offending very seriously.