Paua poacher caught out with more than 30 times the legal daily limit
A man caught with more than 300 live paua claimed he had no idea he was only allowed to gather 10 a day - despite having previously tried to sell the popular seafood delicacy.
Last year, Kevin Wayne Shramka was found with 314 live paua, which he had gathered from the South Taranaki coast. Of those, 272 were found to be undersized.
When stopped by a fisheries officer on Dingle Rd in Otakeho, near Opunake, in October, Shramka said he had no idea he was only allowed 10 paua a day and that each had to measure 85mm or more.
However, during a later interview with Ministry for Primary Industries officials, he admitted he had previously tried to sell paua to someone for $50 a kilogram.
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The 58-year-old pleaded guilty to breaching the Fisheries Act when he appeared in the Hawera District Court on Tuesday.
The defendant admitted he offered to sell paua in the past when he was short of cash.
However, in relation to the extreme over-catch of paua he was found with in October, the Hawera man said he had planned to eat the delicacy himself.
Judge Garry Barkle convicted Shramka and ordered a pre-sentence report, which will consider all options in terms of a penalty.
The maximum jail term for the charge is five years or a fine not exceeding $250,000.
The Ministry for Primary Industries also sought the forfeiture of a dive knife Shramka used to collect the paua.
Shramka will be sentenced on March 15.