Men netted after under-sized paua catch

06:38, Sep 09 2014

Two men have been banned from fishing for three years after being caught with hundreds of under-sized paua they intended to sell.

Michael John Taui, 52, Whareti Tangiwai Taukamo, 47, and John Puia, 49, pleaded guilty to Fisheries Act charges in Porirua District Court today.

The three men walked from Titahi Bay to a more remote spot on April 9 last year and were seen by Fisheries' officers gathering paua, but when officers approached the group one of the men ran away while another began to empty a sack of paua back into the sea.

The group were caught with 420 paua, 390 of which were undersized.

Taui, the man who had run away, was found later but claimed to know nothing about the paua, and said he had been birdwatching.

Judge Patrick Grace said paua stocks were being plundered and a message needed to be sent to the wider community that it was not condoned.

''Because what you three did depleted the fisheries' stock and interfered with anyone trying to get their legal quota of paua.''

Taui and Puia were sentenced to five months' home detention, but Taukamo was sentenced to three months' home detention because although he had helped the two men shuck the paua he said he wasn't involved in gathering it.

Taui and Puia, who both have previous fisheries' convictions, were also prohibited from fishing or taking part in any activity relating to fishing for three years.

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