Fishery officers have arrested a man for obstruction while investigating the alleged illegal sale of pāua via social media.
Gary Orr, acting deputy Director-General compliance and governance, said that "In the days prior to the arrest, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) received at least 65 notifications from the public of a man offering one-litre containers of pāua for $50 each via Facebook."
It is illegal to sell, trade or barter recreationally caught fish and shellfish.
"MPI was contacted on Friday morning (7 January), advising that a man related to the Facebook posts was going to be at a Lower Hutt location, to sell 2 containers of pāua," Mr Orr said.
"Fishery officers approached the alleged seller, who was on foot and while they were speaking to him, he ran off. After a short chase, he was arrested for obstructing the fishery officers and taken to the Lower Hutt Police Station."
The fact that the man was located and detained was thanks to public vigilance and compliance work by MPI's fishery officers, Mr Orr said.
His alleged activities are now subject to an ongoing investigation which may result in charges being filed.
"I want to thank every member of the public who took the time and effort to contact us about this particular offending and other breaches.
"Our fishery officers do a great job protecting our kai moana for future generations, and we rely on the public’s goodwill and involvement to do this," Mr Orr said.
Suspicious fisheries behaviour should be reported to 0800 4 POACHER.