Paua and scuba equipment don’t mix
16 January 2008
Fishery officers caught four men at Whangara, north of Gisborne, with more than 100 undersize paua and scuba diving equipment on Monday night.
It is illegal to dive for paua with scuba gear and also illegal to be in possession of both paua and scuba gear.
MFish East Coast District compliance manager Neville Buckley said fishery officers searched a van that had got stuck in soft sand on the beach at Whangara and found a haul of 104 undersize paua.
Mr Buckley said the four men have been interviewed and will face serious fisheries charges and the potential forfeiture of the scuba gear and van. The paua were returned to the sea.
“It was disappointing to find offending of this scale, particularly as we had spoken to one of the men on a previous occasion, and the group were in a position to know exactly what the legal requirements were.
“Most people played by the rules over the Christmas and New Year period, with very few infringements, so it was a shame to see a group hammering the paua fishery.
“The recreational fishing regulations are there to protect our fisheries for everyone. When the regulations get flouted, everyone loses.”
Mr Buckley said if people have information or suspect illegal fishing anywhere on the East Coast, they should ring the MFish poacher line 0800 4POACHER (0800 476 224).
Penalties are set at a maximum of $250,000 with forfeiture of vessels and vehicles possible to reflect the importance of protecting our fisheries.