A coordinated operation on the Waikato and Coromandel coastlines has ended with the apprehension of ten people who were caught taking excess and undersize paua.
District Compliance Manager for the Bay of Plenty/ Waikato/ Coromandel, Brendon Mikkelsen says Fishery officers carried out targeted patrols and surveillance in the Raglan, Port Waikato, and East Coast Coromandel areas over three days as part of operation Te Uru .
The areas patrolled have been identified as areas that are at risk of paua poaching on extreme low tides.
Mr Mikkelsen says two of the ten people apprehended will be facing charges in Court for taking and possessing undersize and excess paua. They will also face forfeiture of property used to commit the offence including dive gear and vehicles.
“This should serve as a reminder to those considering poaching shellfish stocks in remote coastal areas that they will be caught,” says Mr Mikkelsen
Mr Mikkelsen says members of the public who see any unlawful activity (including suspected poaching and / or offering seafood for sale on the black-market) are urged to phone the Ministry’s freephone hotline: 0800 4 POACHER (0800 4 76224) in confidence.
Mr Mikkelsen says “The assistance of the public by reporting suspicious or illegal activity to Fishery Officers is a key element in protecting the fishery and ensures its sustainability for future generations.”
You can also take advantage of the free mobile services. Text ‘app’ to 9889 to download the New Zealand fishing rules smartphone app. Or text the name of the species you are fishing for (e.g. crayfish, paua) to 9889 and you’ll receive the size and limit number by return text. Texts are free.