Waikato men face serious charges over hundreds of excess and undersized pāua
Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI) fishery officers have had a busy summer in the Coromandel region with a number of patrols leading to the apprehension of several people who are likely to face serious charges under the Fisheries Act.
Between 16 and 21 January, 7 people were caught with a total of more than 400 excess and undersized pāua.
The areas that were patrolled are known to be targeted by divers taking advantage of extreme low tides and, in these cases, into the early evening and after dark.
MPI spokesman Jason Howat says the patrols have focused on catching people who are putting the sustainability of our fisheries at risk through illegally taking undersized and excess pāua.
"In one instance 3 Waikato men were stopped by fishery officers and found to be in possession of 165 excess and undersized pāua," says Mr Howat.
"An inspection of another catch resulted in one Waikato man being caught with 163 excess and undersize pāua, while another stopped and inspected was found to be in possession of 64 excess and undersized pāua.
"These men all had the vehicle they were using seized and are each likely to face serious charges under the Fisheries Act.
"An infringement notice of $750 was issued to another 2 Waikato fishers who were found to be in possession of 39 excess and undersized pāua.
"People who continue to abuse our fisheries will be caught and dealt with accordingly. This should be a reminder to poachers that we're out and about patrolling regularly and they should expect to be stopped and inspected at any time.
"We encourage the public to continue to keep an eye out for this kind of behaviour. We would appreciate anyone who sees any suspicious activity to report it through MPI's 0800 4 POACHER line."
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