The Ministry for Primary Industries is appealing for public assistance to find a group suspected of illegally selling paua in Northland region.
Early in the morning of Monday 4 March, a member of the public was offered paua by three men all believed to be Maori and aged between 35 and 40 years. The group were driving a maroon or brown 1996 Toyota Camry registration UD6732. When located on Riverside Drive by Fishery Officers the men failed to stop and the vehicle was last seen on Hatea Drive. Subsequent enquires have revealed that the men attempted to sell paua to a number of bakeries and take away outlets in the Whangarei area that morning.
The public are reminded that fish can only be purchased from legitimate commercial premises or a commercial fisherman. Purchasing illegal fish is a serious offence with fines of up to $250,000 and the seizure of property used in the commission of the offence.
Darren Edwards, Northland District Compliance Manager says, “It is important that we talk to the individuals involved in this operation. The assistance of the public by reporting suspicious or illegal activity to Fishery Officers is a key element in protecting New Zealand’s fishery and ensures its sustainability for future generations.”
If you were approached by these men on Monday morning or have any information that may assist the Ministry for Primary Industries please contact Fishery Officer Deane Walford on 09 4700 580.
Mr Edwards 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.
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.