Gisborne king tides net large haul of undersize paua
3 October 2011
Gisborne Fishery Officers have been busy targeting shore gatherers making the best of very low tides recently.
Tom Teneti, Field Operations Manager, said that while the tides were excellent the weather and large swells meant only the hardy were out gathering seafood.
“Some 425 undersized paua were seized last week with the biggest single haul netting someone with 213 undersized paua some of which weren’t much bigger than a $2 coin. This matter will be proceeding to court and the alleged offender will face heavy fines if convicted,” Mr Teneti said.
Several infringement notices were also issued to others groups who had allegedly taken around 60 to 70 undersized paua each.
Mr Teneti said that with the start of spring and the warmer weather Fishery Officers were out in force to keep the pressure on groups and individuals who insisted on flouting the rules.
“About 40 individuals were taken through the Gisborne courts last year. Our major media campaign aimed at educating the public on size limits and the need to practise sustainable fishing has apparently not deterred groups from taking illegal paua in the Sponge Bay area. It was clear that those apprehended were not expecting to see Fishery Officers around due to strong winds and heavy swells.”
Tom Teneti says the pressure will continue around Sponge Bay over the summer months and those diving in this area were reminded that a “zero tolerance” policy is in place.
“If you take one undersized paua you will be fined; if you take large quantities you will face court charges and risk seizure of diving gear and any vehicle used to transport the illegal seafood,” Mr Teneti said.
“Sponge Bay is a hotspot for offending and our staff will be deployed regularly in this area over the coming months.”
Obtaining a legal-sized paua from the Sponge Bay area is rare. The minimum size for paua is 125 millimetres and the daily bag limit is 10 per fisher per day.
“The amount of illegal pressure on the paua stocks can contribute to local depletion in areas such as Sponge Bay, so it’s in all our interests to stamp out illegal fishing,” Mr Teneti said.
On a more positive note, people gathering in the Turihaua and Tatapouri area generally kept to the limits for kina and shellfish such as boos and cook’s turbans.
“Again the summer message is that we have 4 million guardians of tangaroa – and we need the support of everyone to put an end to illegal fishing,” Tom Teneti said.
If you have information or suspect illegal fishing anywhere you should call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).