Ten people are facing prosecutions for taking large hauls of undersized paua after a three day operation at Kawerua, south of Hokianga, by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) compliance officers.
Compliance officers will be out in force this summer patrolling Northland’s beaches. The summer programme, which commenced last week with phase one of the operation in the Hokianga, found 25 people who had broken the recreational limit of 10 paua per person per day, or the minimum size limit of 125mm.
In the most extreme case one car of five people had 250 paua between them, all undersized.
On a positive note most of the 750 paua that were seized during the operation were returned to the sea, giving them some chance of survival.
MPI District Compliance Manager Northland, Darren Edwards, says once again it is extremely disappointing to see this valuable resource treated with such disrespect.
“Northland’s paua fishery faces a growing threat with this sort of gathering and puts the future paua stocks at risk. It’s not like paua move around much. Once an area is stripped it can take years to recover.
“It’s not like you can’t get legal paua from the area. A group we inspected had legal catches, all paua over the minimum size of 125mm and no more than 10 per person.”
The majority of those apprehended were local people residing in the Hokianga area which once again is disappointing, proving that a small number of the community are willing to treat their own resource with such disregard.
Mr Edwards says compliance officers and honorary fisheries officers will be active throughout Northland over the busy summer months checking fishers’ recreational catch.
“Respect the rules and catch a feed, not a fine.”
MPI encourages people to report any suspicious fishing activity to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are confidential.
At a glance
- 10 people facing a court prosecutions for taking more than three times the daily recreational limit of paua
- 14 people received infringement notices (instant fines) for taking too many paua or undersized paua
- One person facing serious charges for being the driver of a car that had 250 undersized paua in it
- 750 paua seized, most returned to the sea.