MPI fishery officers in Kaikōura are investigating, following the discovery of 212 pāua in the boot of a car.
Yesterday at about 5pm, Police stopped the driver of a car on another matter and found a large sack of pāua in the boot. They immediately contacted MPI and fishery officers interviewed the man last night, says MPI’s Fisheries compliance regional manager, Howard Reid.
"This is really disappointing. The Kaikōura pāua fishery has been closed since the earthquake of 2016 to allow it to rebuild. It’s been a real joint effort to look after the fishery since then, with the community working closely with government and tangata whenua. This sort of theft just undermines all that good mahi."
MPI is investigating where the pāua was destined. Some of it was undersize and some very large – unfortunate losses to the current and future breeding stocks. The man was heading south to the Canterbury region, when he was stopped.
"The fishery is due to reopen in December for 3 months. A lot of work has gone into monitoring and research to understand how this fishery is doing and to allow a cautious reopening. The health of the fishery will be measured before and after the initial reopening period to assess the effect on pāua in the Kaikōura area, and to provide information that will be used to decide next steps."
"It’s critical that fishers continue to respect the closed fishery until December and then abide by the bag and size limit requirement for the 3 month open season.
Howard Reid says the alleged offending is considered serious. No further information is available while the matter is being investigated.
To report any suspicious fishing activity, phone the MPI 0800 4 POACHER hotline (0800 47 62 24).