A group of four men have been convicted and fined for taking more than 5000 pipi from Ohiwa Harbour in Whakatane.
The daily limit for pipi collection is 150 per person.
Riki Gavin Burnett, 47, pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing 620 pipi and was convicted and fined $900 plus $130 court costs when he appeared in the Whakatane District Court earlier this week.
Joseph Te Owai Koopu, 47, also pleaded guilty of possessing 1075 pipi. He was convicted and fined $1500 and the vessel he used in the offending was forfeited to the Crown.
Pākehā Onekawea, 18, and Wharerangi Te Ahuru, 33, were convicted and fined $1400 and $1500 respectively plus $130 court costs each for jointly possessing 3562 pipi, many of which were too small to eat.
“This type of offending presents a serious threat to this valuable resource, and has a profound impact on the sustainability of pipi stocks in the area,” said Ministry of Primary Industries manager fisheries compliance Steve Ham.
“It leads to significant consequences for the local ecology and dependant species, as well as depriving other members of the community from a fair share of the resource.
“Our message to people is to please just take enough for a feed and respect the daily take limits. They’re in place for a reason. We all have a responsibility to ensure the sustainability of a precious resource and environment when gathering kaimoana.”
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