30 Nov 2011

Customary fishing regulation case

9:05 am on 30 November 2011

A judge in Gisborne has dismissed charges against a police sergeant and a company director for taking undersized shell fish under the customary fishing regulations.

However, Judge Philip Connell fined a third defendant for not correctly tagging his crayfish pots.

During a defended hearing in Gisborne, MAF argued that under regulation 27A of the Fisheries Act, a customary permit can be used only to gather seafood for a traditional hui or tangi.

Lwyer Morgan Dunn said crayfish and paua found in the defendants' vehicle were for a private family function, where no Maori protocol was observed.

The defence argued all three men believed they acted within the law.

Judge Connell found that the three charges that MAF brought against both the police sergeant and a company director were not proved.

But he ruled the same charges against commercial crayfisher Bill Destounis were proved and fined him $400 plus court costs on two of them.