Fishery Officers Apprehend Poachers
7 October 2005
Fishery Officers Apprehend Poachers In Northland With 339 Undersize Paua
Late yesterday afternoon Fishery Officers in Northland apprehended two local men in possession of 339 undersize Paua at Sandy Bay, north of Tutukaka.
Fishery Officers on a routine patrol observed the two men acting suspiciously when returning from a diving trip. Upon inspection the Fishery Officers discovered a pack containing 190 Paua and a sack containing a further 149 Paua.
Upon measurement it was discovered that the 339 Paua were between 75mm and 111mm, with the majority around 85mm in length.
The minimum legal size prescribed in the Fisheries Act for Paua is 125mm and the daily entitlement is 10 Paua per person per day.
One of the men claimed they had taken the Paua for his 8 year old daughter's birthday party.
The Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager for Northland Mr Dave Turner described that claim as 'fanciful'.
He further stated that both of these men could only be described as 'thieves' that lack any moral obligation to sustain this valuable resource. "The taking of so many small Paua from any area threatens the future of Paua stocks in that area for many, many years to come."
Charges under the Fisheries Act are to be laid and the men face penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $250,000.
Mr Turner said that this apprehension should serve as a warning to any other persons involved in excessive and indiscriminate harvesting.