Fines totalling $4000 have been handed down to three people who illegally took shellfish from a closed beach in Auckland.
There are 18 signs up at Eastern Beach warning that it is closed to shellfish gathering, to rebuild the population.
But in March last year, fishery officers caught Jonathan Farrow-Russell, 35, Milika Tulikihakau, 22, and Connie Carter Pooi, 24, with about 1000 cockles between them.
The trio claimed not to have seen the signs and did not know the beach was closed, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said.
MPI ended up taking a prosecution against them and they were sentenced in the Manukau District Court last week.
Farrow-Russell was fined $1000 and ordered to pay $130 in court costs, while Tulikihakau and Pooi were each fined $1500 plus $130 court costs.
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