CHEFS URGED TO CHECK SOURCE OF "BABY" PAUA
23 October 2001
The Ministry of Fisheries is reminding seafood lovers to make sure of the source of any "baby" paua before they buy it.
This follows complaints that some recipes for "baby" paua do not mention the shellfish must have been commercially farmed and that the use of undersized paua from the sea is illegal.
Some commercially farmed baby paua is available, but the product is sold through specialty food outlets, and is recognisable by its distinctive commercial packaging, according to Wellington fishery officer Rod Hart. In addition a receipt is given displaying the detail of the transaction. People found in possession of these paua must be able to prove that they were purchased legally.
Paua caught around New Zealand's coast must be a minimum size of 125mm before it can be gathered, according to Mr Hart. Any paua smaller than that should be thought of as next year's harvest and returned alive to the sea.
Allowing the paua to reach the minimum size limit ensures that the paua has matured and reproduced at least once, ensuring survival of the species. To remove paua before it has been allowed to breed could doom the species to extinction.
Paua are unique to New Zealand and it is in everyone's interest to look after the resource, says Mr Hart. The importance of paua has been recognised in new legislation that will see infringement notices issued from November with instant fines starting at $250 for people caught with illegally taken undersize paua.
For more information please contact:
Rod Hart, Fishery Officer, tel 04 576 8049