In December 2016, DOC Ranger Rod Hansen observed Nicholas Eugene Gullery at Stingray Bay, which is within the boundary of the marine reserve.
The ranger observed Gullery taking marine life, namely kina, from the marine reserve and placing them in two sacks.
Hansen says, “It was a clear breach of the Marine Reserve Act.”
When first approached, Gullery initially denied knowledge of the marine reserve. He said that he had driven to the reserve via Gibraltar road and onto the beach at Aramoana.
Hansen pointed out this meant he had driven past no less than seven road signs informing the public about the presence of the marine reserve.
Gullery then claimed he thought the marine reserve only protected fish.
When appearing at Hastings Court this week Mr Gullery pleaded guilty.
Upon sentencing, Community Magistrate Robyn Paterson said she did not believe Mr Gullery didn’t know it was a marine reserve due to the signage, and in any event, he needed to have taken greater care.
She also noted the importance of marine reserves and that this is reflected in the high maximum penalty, which is up to $10,000.
Hawkes Bay Operations Manager Connie Norgate says this is a good outcome.
“This sends a good message of deterrence. Te Angiangi Marine Reserve has been in place since 1997 and we take offending of this nature very seriously.”
“Marine reserves are areas of the coastal and marine environment in which marine life and natural features are fully protected.
“They help allow the ecosystems within them to return to near their former glory supporting an increase in local fish stocks.”
Te Angiangi Marine Reserve is between Blackhead and Aramoana beaches in Hawkes Bay.
Marine Reserves Act 1971 - New Zealand Legislation