24 Oct 2009

Fisherman fined over illegal paua haul

4:13 pm on 24 October 2009

A Chatham Islands fisherman has been fined more than $170,000 for illegal paua fishing.

Valentine Croon Jnr, 36, was fined for taking an estimated 1200 kilograms of paua with a commercial value of about $39,000 while using scuba diving equipment.

He argued that diving with oxygen tanks in the Chatham Islands fishery should be permitted as it provided protection from sharks.

But Judge McKegg stated that under current law underwater breathing apparatus was prohibited in the paua fishery.

This was Croon's second conviction for taking fish using underwater breathing apparatus and his fourth for having the apparatus on a commercial vessel.

Croon was also banned from commercial fishing for three years.