A routine weekend patrol for 2 Wellington fisheries officers and an honorary fisheries officer resulted in the discovery of an illegal haul of almost 300 undersized pāua.
Ministry for Primary Industries team manager for the Eastern and Lower North Island, Mike Green, says the find shows that people are still willing to break the law despite MPI fisheries officers patrolling New Zealand’s coast lines on a regular basis.
“The 3 were on a routine patrol south of Green Point on the Wellington Coast when they observed 2 men shucking pāua.
“When they conducted an inspection, they found the men in possession of a backpack loaded with more than 280 shucked pāua.
“All but one were under the 125mm legal size. Unfortunately, because they were shucked we couldn’t return them to the sea.
“This sort of blatant illegal behaviour is really disappointing,” Mr Green says.
The men’s dive gear and other equipment used to take the pāua was seized.
Both men are likely to face charges under the Fisheries Act and appear before the Court in the coming weeks.