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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Stoke pair poached $12,000 of paua
A Vietnamese couple living in Stoke have admitted running a paua poaching operation which was estimated to have earned them more than $12,000 in a three-month period.
Day Van Tang and his partner Thi-da Son, both 26, appeared in the Nelson District Court yesterday, charged with a range of offences against the Fisheries Act.
Tang admitted four charges of obtaining a benefit by taking paua, four charges of obtaining a benefit by selling paua and two charges of obtaining a benefit by possessing paua, while Son admitted two charges of aiding and abetting Tang to take paua and two charges of allowing a premise to be used for an offence by allowing Tang to possess paua for the purpose of sale.
In July this year, the Fisheries Ministry started investigating the fisheries-related activities of the pair, including covert surveillance to monitor the harvesting and accumulation of paua for sale.
It became clear they were taking and selling large quantities of undersized paua, and neither had a permit or licence that allowed them to take or sell fish commercially, according to the ministry's statement of facts.
On 12 occasions between July 6 and September 16 the pair, accompanied by their two children, drove to a secluded area of the Kaikoura coast named Black Miller.
Under the cover of darkness and at low tide, Tang would harvest the paua while Son waited in the car away from the dive site.
At paua shell dump sites in Nelson and Kaikoura the ministry found 246 shells, 81 per cent of which were under the 125mm size limit.
The maximum number of paua a person can take is 10 a day, and on some occasions the pair took hundreds, the ministry said.
The shucked paua meat was packed into shopping bags weighed in 10kg lots and stored in the freezer or on ice, and sometimes at Tang's brother's house.
Tang and Son admitted that on three occasions they travelled to Auckland with the paua to make sales to an acquaintance, and made smaller sales to members of Nelson's Asian community.
The paua was sold for between $40 and $50 a kg.
Tang admitted taking and selling 254kg of paua meat, which translated to 635kg green weight, and it was estimated the defendants received about $12,445 from July to September, the ministry said.
Since 2004 Tang has received two infringement notices for having undersized and excess paua.
Judge Tony Zohrab remanded the pair on bail for sentencing until January 21, and warned them jail was a possibility.
The Fisheries Ministry told The Nelson Mail commercial fishermen generally got about $130 for a kg of paua sold wholesale.
The total quota value of paua in New Zealand is estimated to be $384 million.
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