Black market crayfish seller sentenced to home detention

He sold 97 crayfish, which had a wholesale value of almost $5000.
He sold 97 crayfish, which had a wholesale value of almost $5000. Photo credit: File / Getty Images

A Hawke's Bay man who sold almost 100 illegally caught crayfish on the black market has been sentenced to four and half months' home detention. 

Quentin Teremoana Hawkins, 46, was one of three people involved in what the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) called "Operation Uncle".

He was sentenced in the Hawke's Bay District Court on Thursday after earlier pleading guilty to 12 charges under the Fisheries Act.

One of the others accused of similar charges has pleaded not guilty, while a third person is yet to enter pleas.

MPI said officers discovered the illegal crayfish sales after being alerted they were taking place on a Facebook site called 'Boycott Online Hawkes Bay'. 

The crayfish were caught from the Waimārama area, between December 2018 and March 2019.

"The rules and regulations are there to protect our precious fishing resources for all New Zealanders," Tyrone Robinson, MPI district team leader fisheries compliance, said on Friday.

"Waimārama is an area under pressure. Poachers deplete the resource for everyone – our message to them is that we will continue to target and stop them."

Robinson said Hakwins sold 97 crayfish, which at the time had a wholesale value of $4801.50.

"Mr Hawkins received between $1455.00 and $1940.00 on the black market."

Robinson said the boat used to harvest the crayfish, called the 'Kaiwaka', was forfeited by the Crown.