A man has been sentenced to two months in jail for fishing in a marine reserve near Wellington.
Carl Patterson, 31, was caught diving for pāua in the Taputeranga Marine Reserve, in July 2019.
He was sentenced in the Hutt Valley District Court for one charge of obstruction under the Fisheries Act and one charge under the Marine Reserves Act for taking pāua from a marine reserve without lawful authority.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said when Patterson was approached by a member of the public following the incident he dropped the catch bag and left in his car.
The catch bag was subsequently retrieved by MPI and found to contain 50 pāua.
"Patterson acted with disregard for our officer and for rules that are there to protect fish stocks and the environment for everyone," Mike Green, MPI regional manager of fisheries compliance, said on Wednesday.
Green said with the exception of monitoring and research - for which a permit is required - it is illegal to fish or disturb marine life in marine reserves.
He encouraged fishing industry operators and non-commercial fishers to report any suspected illegal activity through MPI's 0800 4 Poacher number (0800 47 62 24).