Fishery officers make big paua haul at Makara
23 April 2009
Fishery officers seized over 100 kg of paua and apprehended five people after an operation at Makara, Wellington on Wednesday 22nd of April.
Patrolling Fishery Officers found some of the group loading up their vehicle at the beach at Makara. Following a detailed search of the area, Fishery Officers found three backpacks laden with over 500 paua hidden among rocks and bush.
The two men and three women were questioned at the beach and their vehicle and dive gear was seized. Fishery Officers were astounded to find that when they emptied out all the backpacks recovered from the area and vehicle there was over 900 paua. The paua had been removed from their shells and weighed over 100 kg. The paua was packed into individual 10 kg shopping backs.
Enquiries are continuing as to the destination of the stolen paua.
“It is so disappointing to see such a large amount of paua being stolen from our coast,” said District Compliance Manager Ross Thurston. “We will continue our attack on paua thieves who through their own self interest and greed thumb their noses at the public and fisheries law.”
“Hopefully the apprehensions by our Fishery Officers will send a strong message that illegal divers are being watched”.
Mr Thurston said the group picked up at Makara could face serious fisheries charges that carry a fine up to $250,000.00 or imprisonment up to five years.
Mr Thurston expressed his thanks to members of the public who assisted Fishery Officers in locating the paua at Makara.
“If you see suspicious or illegal fishing activity remember to get as much detail as you can and call 0800 4 POACHER,” he said.