Another paua bust in the Bay of Plenty
8 September 2009
Hard on the heels of a major paua bust in the Wellington area, late last week Bay of Plenty Fishery Officers apprehended two men with an illegal paua catch.
The offenders were nabbed at Mount Maunganui on Friday 4 September with more than 180 paua, well over the legal limit of 10 per person and mostly were undersized.
“Offending of this scale is serious,” said Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager Brendon Mikkelsen. “These offenders were particularly uncooperative towards Fishery Officers and did not appear to care less that they were taking precious paua stocks away from their local community including Tauranga Moana Iwi.”
Brendon Mikkelsen said offending of this scale would not be tolerated and that his Fishery Officer team would continue to be vigilant during land and sea patrols around the Bay of Plenty coastline. “With the public’s help we will ensure that our vulnerable paua stocks are maintained and sustained for the future.
“Anyone else contemplating poaching our seafood stocks should think twice because offending of this scale is likely to result in court action and may result in a fine and permanent forfeiture of any property used in the commission of the offence including vessels, vehicles and associated gear.
“I hope this serves as a warning to people who don’t respect the rules that the Ministry is serious and won’t give up,” said Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley. “The last Budget boosted funding to considerably increase the number of Fishery Officers on our beaches over the next four years. This will be important for the Ministry’s efforts in targeting criminals.”
On another positive note, with the opening of this year’s scallop season on 1 September, the Bay of Plenty non-commercial compliance rate is currently high, according to Brendon Mikkelsen.
If you see anything suspicious on or around our beaches, call 0800 4 POACHER.