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Poachers caught with 522 Paua

28th June 2005

Poachers caught with 522 Paua

On the 17th June 2005 Fishery Officers from the Whangarei office of the Ministry of Fisheries apprehended three men at Kawerua on the West Coast of Northland with 522 Paua.

The legal daily limit for Paua is 10 per person per day.

Of the 522 Paua only two were above the legal minimum size of 125mm. The remaining 520 ranged in size from 80mm to 124mm.

The apprehensions were the result of an ongoing MFish operation targeting illegal poaching at Kawerua.

The District Compliance Manager for the Ministry of Fisheries in Northland, David Turner, says such wholesale poaching is seriously threatening the future of Paua stocks in this remote area and he believes the quantities involved showed that the Paua were destined for the Black Market.

"Poachers can only be branded as thieves and common criminals who are robbing all New Zealanders of their right to harvest Paua legally," he says.

"This is the fifth such operation conducted this year at Kawerua, and the fifth time serious offending has been detected. Further, the continuous poaching in the Kawerua area has the potential to impact on the long-term sustainability of the fishing resource.

"Continued surveillance operations will continue in this area for as long as it takes until we eliminate this type of offending."

The three Northland men will face serious charges laid under the Fisheries Act 1996, and if convicted, face penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment or fines up to $250,000.

ENDS

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