DOC condemns Marine Reserve poachers, zero tolerance for those caught

The Department of Conservation says it is "disappointed" in a recent spate of poaching in marine reserves.

DOC and The Ministry of Primary Industries said they are committed to zero tolerance policing of the protected zones.

Department of Conservation's Tom McTavish said Marine Reserves allow for the protection of an area of ocean that is representative of New Zealand’s unique biodiversity.

New Zealand has 44 marine reserves dotted around the country, each home to some diverse wildlife, all of which are off limits for fishing.

In the past few months, 16 people were stopped for allegedly taking more than fifty crayfish and 600 kina from a reserve near Gisborne, with another angler caught was fishing in a protected area near Wellington.

"We're talking about increasing the abundance and allowing the fish species to recover ... it's really important people don't fish," Mr McTavish said.

Because the reserves are so small, even a few breaches can have a big impact.

"The best course is to do your research before you come. By knowing the rules you protect yourself and you're also protecting the marine environment," Mr McTavish said. 

"It's a win-win."

A recent spate of poaching has prompted a warning from the Department of Conservation that they will act with impunity towards poachers. Source: 1 NEWS