A Nelson man who claimed he didn't know he was in a marine reserve, has copped the largest fine ever given for commercial fishing in a reserve.
Leon Taswell Wallace was fined $16,000 in Nelson District Court on Wednesday, for taking marine life for commercial purposes from Kahurangi Marine Reserve, on the West Coast.
Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers spotted Taswell from a helicopter as he was trawling the reserve on September 23, 2016.
It was later established that Wallace was the skipper of the boat at the time and he wasn't aware of the marine reserve.
Taswell had charts on board that were old and didn't show the marine reserve, and his chart plotter device wasn't working.
People fishing have a responsibility to ensure they know where marine reserves are and their boundaries, says DOC Buller operations manager Bob Dickson.
"This case is a reminder that people who fish inside these marine reserves can expect to be prosecuted."
Kahurangi Marine Reserve is one of five West Coast marine reserves established more than three years ago and covers approximately 84 sq km.