Chch man forfeits $25k boat for rock lobster sale

A fifty eight year-old Christchurch man was sentenced in Christchurch District Court yesterday for selling his recreationally caught rock lobster.

Mark Webster on three occasions sold a total of 143 rock lobster for $2,100 to an undercover fishery officer. The sales took place in Kaikoura and Christchurch.

Mr Webster was fined $2,400 and had his $25,000 boat forfeited including a freezer, boiler, fishing pots, and 72 rock lobster.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Canterbury/Westland District Compliance Manager Peter Hyde says that it is an offence for recreational fishers to sell their catch.

“The outcome of this case sends a strong message to those who choose to offend,” says Mr Hyde.

“It is illegal for recreational fishers to sell their catch. Recreationally caught fish are for your own personal consumption.

“If members of the public are offered rock lobster at a cheap price with no documentation they should not assume they have been taken by a legitimate commercial fisher who has a permit and quota.”

Under the Fisheries Act 1996 the maximum penalties for selling your recreational catch to obtain a benefit is 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine.

“This summer we will be actively targeting recreational fishers who choose to abuse the fishery regulations and limits. The public also play an important role in helping us catch these people.

“Public reporting of fishery poaching and recreational fishing breaches are invaluable and help us protect and sustain our fish stock for future generations.”

If you see any suspicious activity in our fisheries we urge you to contact us by phoning our free phone hotline 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are in confidence.

For further information about recreational fishing limits visit

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