12 people apprehended by fishery officers during paua patrols
14 November 2008
Fishery officers from the Ministry of Fisheries carried out targeted patrols this week, 10 – 14 November, focusing on the paua fishery on Northland’s west coast between Kawerua and Ahipara. A total of 12 people were apprehended and 321 paua recovered. The majority of this paua was undersize.
Two Kaitaia men were stopped and found to have 145 paua, 135 of which were undersize. As a result their vehicle was seized and both men now face prosecution.
Two separate groups of people numbering two and four were also stopped and found to have excess and undersize paua. All of these people will receive infringement notices.
Further south at Kawerua, two Hokianga men were apprehended with 72 paua and will face prosecution action along with two other local men apprehended with 222 paua.
“We want to remind divers that the daily limit for paua is 10 per diver with the minimum size being 125mm’, said Darren Edwards, Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager.
The penalties for taking or possessing excess and undersize paua range from an infringement fine of $250-$500 through to prosecution where the fines can be up to $250,000 and the forfeiture of property, vehicles and a complete ban on fishing.
“In all of these cases it is extremely disappointing to see that these people are local and have chosen to plunder the paua fishery at the risk of the resource for the future”, said Darren Edwards,
“As people find their financial situation increasingly coming under pressure they may turn to the ocean as a source of sustenance, which is fine, but they must remember that daily limits and sizes are placed on fish stocks to ensure that there is fish in the sea for tomorrow” he said.
With summer approaching, fishery officers will be lifting their presence on the beaches in the recreational fishery to ensure that the public adhere to the rules.
At the same time, the public are reminded that fishery officers cannot be everywhere and if any suspicious activity is seen we would encourage them to contact the Ministry of Fisheries on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476224).