Guidelines for gathering paua
Sustainable fisheries within a healthy aquatic ecosystem
Paua less than the minimum legal size are next year's harvest. Often these paua are removed and damaged by paua divers, only to be returned to the sea to die. There are a number of ways to ensure that undersized paua are not removed from reef surfaces, and ways to care for the young paua if they are inadvertently removed.
You can help ensure your future paua harvest by following a few simple rules.
If possible, avoid removing undersized paua from the reef.
Use instruments with an underwater measuring device/mark. If you measure your paua underwater you will have less chance of taking and damaging undersized paua.
Take care when removing paua, just in case some of them are undersized.
When collecting paua, use paua friendly tools (that is, no sharp instruments). Any damage to undersized paua will significantly reduce their chances of survival. If unsuccessful in removing a paua on the first attempt, leave it, because if it has clamped onto a rock it is extremely unlikely it will be prised loose without suffering damage.
Return undersized paua to ensure their survival.
Any undersized paua should be returned by a diver to the reef surface promptly and placed right way up. Do not throw them over the side of your boat. Unless paua are placed on the reef surface the right way up, they are likely to be eaten by starfish, reef fish and other predators before they have a chance to clamp onto the rock surface. It is unlikely that paua thrown back onto a sandy or gravely substrate will survive.
Keep paua in the shade and ensure they remain damp when on deck.
You should measure your paua underwater. However, if you have taken paua out of the water to measure, keep them damp and in the shade. Heat damaged paua returned to the reef will be in a weakened state and are susceptible to predation.
Take only what you need.
Take only the paua you need (within the confines of the daily bag limit). Leave some for another day.
Don't clear out whole areas.
Take only a few paua from within a bed and move on to another area. If paua are cleared from large areas you may lose a favourite paua spot.
Don't shuck paua (remove the shell) below high water mark.
Remember, paua must be landed in a measurable state to enable Fishery Officers to measure your catch. Furthermore, shucking of paua leaves waste which will attract predators to the area.
How to measure paua
The size of paua is measured in a straight line across the greatest overall length of the shell.
By following these simple guidelines you will protect the undersized paua, ensuring a productive fishery in the following year.
Contact local Fishery Officer