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Seizure Of Rock Lobster And Paua

10 January 2006

Seizure Of Rock Lobster And Paua

Gisborne Fishery Officers have seized rock lobster and paua relating to two separate incidents.

One incident saw three individuals apprehended with rock lobster and paua within the Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.

The second incident involved a group who had been diving north of Gisborne and upon inspection were found to have 50 undersize rock lobster and a small quantity of illegal size paua.

All illegal seafood was seized and returned to sea both within the Marine Reserve and also at a release point at Gisborne.

Team Leader Martin Williams says the size of the rock lobster taken in the second incident was of concern as some were so small they could fit in the palm of your hand.

Over the Christmas New Year holiday period Fishery Officers carried out routine and targeted patrols within the Gisborne District, which extends from Lottin Point to the Wairoa River.

Specific coastal areas were targeted based on information reported by members of the public who were concerned about illegal activity they had witnessed.

“The information provided was invaluable and assisted my officers in targeting those persons blatantly ignoring fisheries rules.”

Low tide periods were targeted and Fishery Officers carried out early morning and late evening patrols in the more isolated areas.

Those fishers targeting wetfish were the best behaved.

Rock lobster fishers inspected still continued to land one or two undersized rock lobster.

Part of the problem was incorrect use of rock lobster measuring devices and unfamiliarity with the tail width measuring technique.

“If you are unsure of how to measure your rock lobster make contact with a Fishery Officer prior to going fishing to ensure you know the rules and regulations.”

Shore gatherers were still proving a problem with large amounts of illegal paua being taken by this group.

“Another serious problem is the illegal door to door sales of rock lobster for up to $15.00 each. If you are caught selling rock lobster and paua illegally Fishery Officers can seize any vehicle used in the commission of the offence.”

“My advice to the public is not to buy fish offered in this manner. If possible, please attempt to obtain information such as the registration number of the vehicle used and description of those involved and immediately contact the local MFish office at (06) 869-0870.”

Martin Williams wished to thank all those who rang the office reporting illegal activity and to praise the accuracy of information provided including descriptions of those involved and registration numbers of vehicles and vessels being used.

“The general public are our eyes and ears along our extensive coastline and accurate and timely information allow Fishery Officers to respond appropriately.”

ENDS

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