Statistics Reveal Value of New DOC Infringement System
The Department of Conservation (DOC) has issued more than 200 infringement notices and initiated 11 prosecutions since it launched its new Electronic Compliance and Enforcement System (CLE) in late 2020.
John Wallwork, DOC’s acting national compliance officer, said analysis of year one results using the new system shows the majority of violations were marine mammal protection law violations. , Conservation Law and Endangered Species Trade Law.
This has included fishing in marine reserves, trading in an article of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), infractions on public conservation lands and dogs in national parks. A total of 460 violations were reported between September 2020 and August 2021.
Some of the more unusual infractions that resulted in enforcement action included the illegal removal of a sand dune to allow for the construction of a patio, staircase and boardwalk.
In another incident, the partially slaughtered remains of a protected great white shark were found on the beach by a member of the public. Following a DOC investigation and identification of the offender through CCTV footage, a search warrant was executed, resulting in the recovery of shark remains. The offender received an offense and was warned under the 1953 Wildlife Act.
The new electronic application tool and database allow rangers and DOC staff to record non-compliant activities in the field through a mobile phone app that connects directly to a central repository.
This centralized incident recording system gives DOC the ability to deliberately, proportionally and promptly assess and respond to any non-compliance incident and enables DOC to analyze violations and trends to piece together a nationwide picture. He said.
Incidents recorded by DOC staff using the new system are screened by the DOC national compliance team for potential progress to further investigation and enforcement action.
John Wallwork says adopting the new enforcement system was an important step forward in DOC’s ability to ensure conservation law enforcement – and contribute to long-term wildlife protection goals and the nature of the country.
Since the system was put in place in September 2020, approximately 250 offense notices and 200 warning letters have been issued with 11 offenses referred for prosecution. Approximately $ 85,000 was paid in fines for the infraction. The non-payment of fines totaling $ 30,000 was referred to the Department of Justice for recovery. Violation notices and warning letters can also be issued directly from the electronic system.
The system also captures details of illegal activity reported by members of the public through the department’s 0800 DOC HOT response number, allowing DOC to track and investigate.
Non-compliant activities can be reported to 0800 DOC HOT.
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