Prison sentence for Porirua pāua poacher 'sends a signal'

Long Lunch 07/12/2018

A Porirua pāua poacher has been sentenced to prison in order to send a strong message about fishery poaching in New Zealand.

Ruteru Sufia was sentenced to 18 months in prison for getting caught twice for exceeding the daily limit of ten pāua per day.

Sufia pleaded guilty to poaching 366 pāua from Makara beach across two days. Nearly one-fifth of them were under the legal size.

MPI fisheries team manager Mike Green has applauded the prison sentence ahead of summer, which he hopes sends a strong message that poaching is unacceptable

"We're very pleased that the judiciary have come down hard on this," Mr Green said.

He told RadioLIVE that those who poach such high quantities typically sell it off rather than keep it for personal consumption.

Sufia was caught initially by MPI Fishery officers with 145 shucked pāua in his pack. The next day he was caught in the same place, picking up the remaining 221 pāua.

Sufia was already considered a recidivist offender, according to Mr Green.

Mr Green advises those who see suspicious activity to alert MPI as these tips are critical for the agency to monitor the country's extensive coastlines.

"We do really very much on the public giving us information."

Vehicle registration numbers, boat names, and precise locations are all crucial information that MPI can use to double down on suspected poachers.

To report poaching, suspicious, or illegal activity – call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) or email

Listen to the full interview with Mike Green.

The Long Lunch with Lynda Hallinan, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.