Northland man sentenced to jail for pāua poaching

By Jessica Tyson

A man has received a year-long jail term after being sentenced in the Auckland District Court on two charges under the Fisheries Act for pāua poaching.

Kaitaia man William Rini Wikitera, 42, is one of two people caught by the Ministry for Primary Industries Northland for pāua-related offences committed between March and August 2015.

The investigation identified approximately $12,000 worth of pāua illegally gathered in Northland and sold in Northland and Auckland.

The other man’s case is still being heard.

Pāua illegally gathered. Source: MPI Northland, Facebook

The ministry said in a statement that, “All those involved in the investigation say the jail sentence sends a clear message that taking more than the legal limit of pāua as well as dealing with it on the black market is a serious offence.

“In terms of how significant this is, it’s a huge penalty. We’re really pleased that people who are currently involved in this sort of illegal behaviour, or are anticipating being involved, will be punished accordingly.”

The ministry is advising people to contact MPI if they have information about fisheries offending.