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Large Paua Seizure In Wairarapa

Breeding & genetics

NEW ZEALAND - Fishery Officers and Police yesterday seized 708 paua and a motor vehicle in Wairarapa after they had stopped the vehicle and found the paua in the boot.

Earlier in the day, the officers had observed a group of people gathering paua among the rocks at Mataikona.

Three vehicles with 10 people inside were later stopped on their way back to Masterton. One of the vehicles was found to have paua and dive gear in the boot. None of the group admitted taking any of the shellfish.

The paua, which had been shucked, ranged in weight from between 18 and 130 grams, which meant a large quantity of the catch was undersize.

Ray McKay, Field Operations Manager for the Hawke’s Bay Wairarapa area, said that last week Masterton Fishery Officers seized 145 paua which they believed were gathered by the same group in the Castlepoint area. He said this meant that around 1000 paua had been seized in this area within a week.

Fishery Officers had also recovered around 900 paua shells in the Ruamahanga River area, which appeared to have been abandoned over the weekend.

“This is extremely disappointing,” Mr McKay said. “Although gaining voluntary compliance from the recreational sector is the Ministry’s first priority, we have no hesitation in putting those who blatantly breach fisheries legislation before the courts.”

Mr McKay urged members of the public to continue using the 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) number if they observe anything suspicious at beaches or any remote locations.

> “The Wairarapa coast is vast and the only way we will make any significant inroads into this environmental theft is with the help of the Wairarapa public,” he said.

Mr McKay also said he wished to acknowledge the ongoing support that the Wairarapa Police provided to the two Masterton-based Fishery Officers.