Date: 30 March 2012
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is pleased with the prosecution of six whitebaiters in the Whakatane District Court on the 20 March 2012 for breaches of the Whitebait Fishing Regulations.
Gisborne Whakatane Area Manager, Andy Bassett said DOC takes the issue of illegal whitebaiting seriously and will continue to prosecute people who deliberately flaunt the regulations.
Travis Tane 22, Tawhai Te Ariki 20, Aiden Ohlson 22, Peter Ford 18 and Tawhai Tarau 24 all from Whakatane were found to be illegally fishing within 20 metres of either the Awatapu or Orini Canal floodgates.
Both of these floodgates have numerous signs informing the public that whitebait fishing is not permitted within 20 metres of the structure meaning there is no excuse for ignoring the rules. All men were fined $1000 with $132 court costs plus forfeiture of their nets.
Mark Hohua 37 of Whakatane was fined $200 with $132 court costs and forfeiture of his net for fishing outside the permitted 5 am – 8 pm whitebait fishing hours. Mr Hohua was apprehended by the NZ Police at 30 minutes past midnight whitebaiting from the Whakatane boat ramp.
“We have informed the public of the regulations with yearly media campaigns and on-site signage, this leaves us no alternative but to prosecute those who have scant disregard for the sustainability of the whitebait fishery.
“With the ongoing efforts of DOC compliance staff, assisted by the NZ Police, the outcome from the court was a pertinent reminder to those who illegally whitebait fish that it could end up being a costly exercise”, says Mr Bassett.
Jamie Quirk, Ph: +64 27 432 4920