Prison time for paua poacher

21:04, Nov 08 2012
Paua poached
The 635 paua found poached by Pele Pele Lemalu in February this year.

A Porirua man already facing court for paua poaching has been jailed after he was nabbed again, this time with 324 undersized paua.

Pele Pele Lemalu, 48, was sentenced in Wellington District Court yesterday to 12 months in prison for the 964 paua he hauled in, in two incidents.

In February this year, Lemalu was caught at Makara Beach with associate Aaron Karatiana collecting paua, the Primary Industries Ministry said.

Officers found 635 shucked paua plus five paua still in their shells.

Of those, 117 were undersized.

While awaiting sentencing, in June, Lemalu was caught in Pukerua Bay with associate Neru Kome taking paua from an area only handlines are permitted. They had been diving at night using torches.

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Three hundred and twenty-four paua were found, all of which were undersized.

Kome was sentenced to to three months and three weeks' home detention.

Lemalu had intended on selling both hauls of paua.

Wellington district compliance manager Mike Green hoped the sentence would act as a deterrent to others.

"Poachers not only risk fish stocks but they are stealing from their communities and making it harder for compliant recreational fishers to enjoy fishing activities by taking more than their legal entitlement and benefiting from it."

The maximum penalty for selling recreational fish to sell is five years in prison.

Contact Tom Hunt
Breaking news reporter
Email: tom.hunt@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @tomdom76

The Dominion Post