Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers released 650 illegally caught pāua back into the sea after a compliance operation in Taranaki.
The operation is part of regular compliance checks across the region to make sure people are keeping within the rules so current and future generations can continue to gather and enjoy this kaimoana.
The team issued 8 infringements and 9 warnings, and made 1 arrest. In addition, several vehicles were seized, 1 person was arrested after obstructing a fishery officer who was trying to inspect their catch, and 6 people may face prosecution.
MPI's team manager of fisheries compliance for the western North Island, Andre Espinoza, says during the week-long operation, 8 fishery officers interacted with around 180 people during patrols that took place at low tide.
"Most people understand that the rules are there for a reason and play an important part in looking out for our fisheries.
"We're grateful for the support we get from the community who share our frustration at the minority who want to break the rules. But there are still a few opportunists out there who take more than their daily limit or gather undersize pāua.
"We do not tolerate this type of offending, and people who want to take illegal pāua should know it could land them with instant fines ranging from $250 to $500, or see them prosecuted and their vehicles seized."
To find out more about the rules in your area, download the Fisheries New Zealand app for free from Google Play or the App Store.
We encourage the public to maintain vigilance and report suspicious fishing activity to MPI through our 0800 4 POACHER line – 0800 47 62 24.