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9/10/2008
New Zealand Man Loses Car Over Fish
Fisheries agents in New Zealand confiscate a car belonging to a man accused of holding a bag that appeared to contain fish.

Honda Integra
Officials in New Zealand took a man's car because he ignored a roadblock set up by Ministry of Fisheries agents. On August 27, Gisborne District Court Judge Phil Gittos handed down a NZ$1000 fine against Tai Kehu Crawford, 63, and ordered his Honda Integra automobile to be confiscated. Crawford was not present at the hearing and was found guilty by default.

"Fisheries rules are there to protect the resource for the population and those who consider ignoring them for their own benefit should be aware that their chances of being caught are high and consequences serious," East Coast District Compliance Manager Tom Teneti said in a statement.

The Fisheries Act 1996 gives agents the authority to enter an automobile or ship for any reason and conduct a thorough search. If unauthorized fishing is suspected, the act allows the agent to seize that vehicle or vessel. This was the incentive behind the April roadblock in Okitu where an Fisheries officer tried, and failed, to catch Crawford. Crawford allegedly made a rude gesture with his fingers as he drove around the roadblock's cones without stopping.

A Fisheries officer testified that he saw Crawford hold a bag containing "orange objects similar to crayfish." That was enough for Gittos to issue the order forfeiting Crawford's car to the Crown. Earlier this month the ministry had seized two other cars worth up to NZ$25,000. One owner was accused of fishing on the beach. The other lost his car because he sold fish at a flea market after going fishing.



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