Greedy paua poachers target Tairua
26 January 2010
Greedy poachers from South Auckland have targeted the Tairua area, plundering “ridiculous” amounts of undersized paua from the popular holiday resort.
In the latest incident, three South Auckland men were caught with 420 paua, all of which were substantially smaller than the legal minimum size of 125mm.
“This is plundering on a ridiculous scale,” says Brendon Mikkelsen, Ministry of Fisheries’ Field Operations Manager for the Waikato/ Bay Of Plenty/ Coromandel area.
“The daily limit for paua is just 10 per person, so these three were entitled to take just 30 between them. Instead, they took an incredible daily limit for 42 people!”
Brendon Mikkelsen says offending at this level is dealt with by a section of the Fisheries Act designed to deter those taking large amounts of seafood to illegally sell on the blackmarket.
“Offending on this scale is very serious and the men offered no valid excuse for their behaviour. Charges are now likely to be laid and these three could each face fines of up to $250,000 plus the permanent forfeiture of their vehicle and dive equipment.”
The vehicle the men were using, a Ford Econonvan, and their dive equipment has already been seized by the Ministry.
The incident follows another on January 21 where five people were caught with 108 paua, again all undersized.
“We will not tolerate this and will continue to run surveillance and other operations to catch those who ignore the rules and threaten the future of our shellfish and other seafood.”
Brendon Mikkelsen urged anyone who saw any illegal fishing activity to ring the Ministry’s popular 0800 4 Poacher number: (0800 4 76224).
“We all need to work together to protect our fishing resources for now and into the future,” he says.