A joint Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and NZ Police checkpoint in Taranaki has uncovered a massive illegal haul of pāua, the majority of which were undersized.
MPI fishery officers and police stopped and inspected cars travelling on State Highway 45 near Okato last week to coincide with low spring tides – an event that traditionally sees large numbers of people take excessive amounts of shellfiah, particularly pāua.
MPI spokesman Jason Howat says the south Taranaki coastline is an area of high risk of offending, in part, due to its isolation and vastness.
He says a number of people received warnings and infringements for exceeding the daily limit of pāua and kina and for taking undersized pāua.
"What was staggering was the discovery of 4 people with a total of 736 pāua, 703 of which were undersized. Investigations are continuing into this. A vehicle used in this offending was seized by fishery officers. The people involved will likely face serious fisheries charges," says Mr Howat.
Mr Howat says the 2-day checkpoint also resulted in one set net being seized and a number of people being given infringements and fines totaling $1750 for taking undersized and excess pāua as well excess kina.
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