Arrest made for illegal paua stash
28 February 2006
A 24-year-old Chinese national found with 100 kilograms of paua meat in Wellington in January has been arrested in Auckland.
The discovery of the paua meat came after a routine police patrol stopped and spoke to the occupant of a 2001 VW Beetle in central Wellington in the early hours of Friday 27 January. The paua was frozen and packaged into several plastic bags. The vehicle (valued at $20,000) was seized.
Fishery officers have been investigating the incident and made the arrest after the original occupant of the VW Beetle fled from a Fishery Officer conducting the investigation. He was charged with obstruction under the Fisheries Act.
Wellington District Compliance Manager Ross Thurston said the arrest had come about after extensive inquiries within the Chinese community. “The Operation has been successful through the cooperation of Wellington and Auckland Fishery Officers and inquiries will continue into the origins and possible destination of the 100 kilograms of paua.”
“This operation reinforces the determination of the Ministry of Fisheries to target and apprehend anyone involved with the poaching and possible black marketing of our fisheries resources.”
Individuals involved in the black market paua trade face serious Fishery Act charges and face up to five years in prison and/or $250,000 fines if convicted.