Man who purchased black market paua a 'mongrel' motivated by greed says Paua Industry Council

The Paua Industry Council has expressed fury at a company which purchased black market paua, labelling them as "mongrels", motivated by greed, who don't give a damn about sustainability.

Giancarlo Harold D'Esposito, also known as Joe, was a director of Hawkes Bay Seafoods when he handed over wads of cash for more than a tonne the iconic shellfish.

D'Esposito bought the illegal paua oblivious to the fact that the man selling it happened to be an undercover MPI officer. 

On Friday he was sentenced to 10 months of home detention and 200 hours of community service. His company was fined $27,600.

Paua Industry Council chief executive Jeremy Cooper praised the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for their work and said poachers put the whole resource at risk. 

"This is greed, pure and simple. We manage the paua stocks carefully and mongrels who don't give a damn about sustainability make my blood boil," said Cooper. 

The prosecution marks the end of six years' work by officials from MPI. 

Operation River, which targeted the black market seafood trade, resulted in 18 convictions in total targeting various people and businesses. 

"We're very pleased with the result. It sends a clear message," said MPI manager of compliance investigations Gerry Anderson.  

Joe and his brother Nino D'Esposito have a long history of fisheries offending. 

Last year, the pair were fined more than $1 million for misreporting 27 tonnes of fish. 

Back in the early 90s they were behind one of the biggest fishing conspiracies ever uncovered, which included misreporting 574 tonnes of orange roughy.