A combined Wellington and Wairarapa Ministry of Fisheries operation was undertaken over Labour weekend. The joint operation, dubbed Operation TOIL, involved 10 Honorary Fishery Officers from Wellington and the Wairarapa assisted by several Fishery Officers
The mission of the operation was to check as many people as possible to ensure that they were complying with Fisheries legislation.
During the operation 190 vehicles were stopped and inspected and 450 people were spoken to. Ministry of Fisheries staff seized three vehicles and assorted dive gear.
Following these checks, four people will be facing prosecutions for taking large quantities and undersize of paua.
A further 13 people were issued with Infringement Notices for less serious breaches of Fisheries Legislation.
Almost 500 paua were seized over the two-day operation. Ministry of Fisheries Team Leader Brenda O'Leary said: "That is a lot of paua that would have been taken home if Fishery Officers had not intervened." Fishery Officers were able to return all the paua to the sea.
"It is disappointing to see that some people continue to breach the Fisheries legislation by taking excess and undersize fish, however the majority of people were aware of the rules and were sticking to them. That is good news," Brenda added. The daily limit for paua each day is 10 and they must be 125mm or over in length before they can be taken. For information on fish sizes and limits telephone 0800 4 rules (0800 78537).