March 28, 2023
Facebook raffle exposes customary crayfish crime
A crayfish poaching ring used falsified customary permits to harvest thousands of crayfish from Mahia Peninsula which were then sold cheaply on the black market.
The Whakatane district court last weekend sentenced the ringleaders, Martin Te Iwingaro Ernest Paul (49) and his daughter Whareake Tamaku Paul (26), both of Kawerau, to nine months home detention and eight months home detention and 100 hours of community work respectively.
Several other syndicate members involved in either the collection, or buying and on-selling, of the illegally harvested crayfish to whanau and friends were also sentenced to community service.
Fisheries New Zealand regional compliance manager Jodie Cole says Martin Paul would provide details of a fake event and the fisher would use those false details to obtain a customary permit.
She says the marae or venue contacts had no idea their facilities were being named on permits.
The department became aware of the sales after discovering Whareake Paul was selling raffle tickets for a large seafood prize via a Facebook group.