Fishers' vehicle seized, charges likely
Northland fishery officers have apprehended four Whangarei men with 474 toheroa which had allegedly been taken from Ripiro beach on Dargaville's west coast.
Their vehicle was seized and it is likely that the four men will also face charges of illegally taking toheroa in contravention of the Fisheries Act 1996. This carries a maximum penalty of a maximum fine of $250,000 and the forfeiture of any property or equipment used in the offending.
MPI district compliance manager Northland Darren Edwards says the rules are there for a reason, and those flouting them need to be held to account.
"Toheroa are a prohibited shellfish. The only way that they can be gathered is by way of customary permit for hui or tangi. Offending of this scale is nothing but blatant theft and undermines the Fisheries Act and further depletes a fishery which is already prohibited for this reason.
"While it's great that the vast majority of people stick to the rules and respect bag limits, there are always those who will try to get more than their fair share."