Police checkpoint uncovers large paua haul
11 February 2011
The Ministry of Fisheries today reported a Hutt Valley police drink/drive checkpoint revealing more than is usually the case.
At about 11 pm on Thursday 10 February, an SUV vehicle with four males inside returning from the Wairarapa was stopped at a police checkpoint in Upper Hutt.
While the driver of the vehicle was dealt with for breaches of the Transport Act, police discovered he was a banned fisher and dive gear in the vehicle.
The officer advised the occupants that he was detaining them under the Fisheries Act to search the vehicle.
A total of 1275 paua were found in two large bags and a sack. Most of the paua were shucked (opened) and undersize.
While at the police stop, one of the four people ran away from the vehicle and was not located.
Fishery Officers were called by police. The three remaining vehicle occupants were interviewed at Upper Hutt Police station.
Mike Green, Ministry of Fisheries Acting Regional Manager Central, said the seized paua was destined for the black market. The vehicle, paua and dive gear were seized.
“Throughout the summer we’ve been sending messages about 4 million guardians of our fisheries and the need to act responsibly,” Mr Green said. “Most people are heeding those messages, so it’s enormously frustrating when the few who couldn’t care less ruin it for the rest of us.”
Dean Baigent, Acting Deputy Chief Executive Field Operations, said the Ministry is very focused on stopping fish thieves in their tracks.
“This was an excellent result – and it shows that all agencies, as well as a supporting public, are determined to protect our valuable fisheries from these selfish and greedy individuals,” Mr Baigent said.
Members of the public are reminded to call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) if they see anything illegal or suspicious in our fisheries.