A paua poacher has undermined the integrity of the process to authorise customary fishing rights, fisheries compliance officers say.
Ryan Karl Tapsell has been sentenced to four years' jail for taking paua without a permit and selling it to fish and chip shops in Otago.
Tapsell also managed to convince local tangata tiaki - or traditional Maori guardians - to issue him with an authorisation to dive for a bigger catch than the regular daily limit, undermining the customary fishing rights process.
Investigators say the paua was sold on the black market for up to five times less than its true value.
The Ministry of Primary Industries says the poaching is a theft of a national resource.