Two newly-appointed Ministry for Primary Industries fisheries officers have made the largest paua bust in the Auckland region in more than a decade.
Team manager for the South Auckland region Jacob Hore says the alleged offending was uncovered by two of MPI's more junior fisheries officers, which makes the detection even more significant.
“The officers were on a routine late shift patrol in West Auckland earlier this week when they came across a car they considered to be in a suspicious location near Cornwallis wharf,” he says.
“They felt something wasn't quite right so waited for the occupants to come back then pulled the vehicle over as it left the area.
Four people – three men and a woman – were discovered in possession of 260 paua, 258 of which were shucked and all of which were undersized.
“The officers seized all the paua and the dive gear used in the alleged offending.
“Unfortunately, the paua were all dead because they had been removed from their shells when our officers found them. They were taken back to the office to be weighed, measured and stored for evidential purposes.
“If they had still been in the shell, the officers would have measured them at the scene and returned them to the sea.
Jacob says it represents the largest paua gathering offence detected in the Auckland region in more than 10 years.
“It is fantastic to see our new officers using their initiative and delivering great results.”
He says it is likely that all the people who the officers found in the car will face regulation charges and charges under the Fisheries Act.