Large Northland paua haul
26 October 2011
The Ministry of Fisheries reported today that Northland Fishery Officers had yesterday apprehended a group of four men with 715 paua, all of which were undersize.
Northland Field Operations Manager Darren Edwards said the Kaikohe men, aged between 18 and 39, had travelled from Kaikohe to Takou Bay on Northland’s east coast where it appeared their sole purpose was to take as much paua as they could carry.
“This is one of the larger paua apprehensions in Northland in recent times and is of major concern to the Ministry,” Mr Edwards said. “Taking this amount is clearly fish theft and these men have no regard for the law or for the sustainability of the resource.”
The smallest paua measured 78 millimetres (the minimum is 125) and the group had more than 17 times the maximum daily allowance in their possession. The daily bag limit is 10 per diver.
Fishery Officers had observed the group diving along a reef at the northern end of Takou Bay and apprehended them as they returned to their vehicle, which was parked about four kilometres to the south of where they were diving.
“Northland paua offending is usually confined to the remote reefs along the west coast between Kawerua and Ahipara, but recent activity like this suggests offending is now becoming more apparent on the east coast,” Mr Edwards said.
“Our fisheries are coming under constant pressure and offending on this scale puts that much extra unnecessary stress on a finite resource.”
Darren Edwards said the men would be charged with serious offences against the Fisheries Act and would face fines of up to $250,000 together with possible forfeiture of dive gear and a vehicle.
“Fishery Officers will be out in force during the busy summer months but cannot be everywhere and public support is of great assistance to us. Any suspicious activity should be reported to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).”