Men lose boat after undersized paua bust

05:03, Jun 06 2012
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UNDERSIZED: Confiscated paua are laid out on a table.

Two Porirua men had their boat and dive gear seized after they were caught with hundreds of undersized paua.

The men, aged 42 and 37, tried to dump 364 paua when they were caught by fisheries officers last week at Titahi Bay Beach, 291 of which were undersized.

The men each face up to five years' imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000.

Ministry for Primary Industries Wellington district compliance manager Mike Green said fisheries officers had seized the boat and dive gear the men were using.

"It is also unfortunate in this case that the vessel used appears to be jointly owned by an unrelated part," Mr Green said.

"MPI frequently seize vessels, vehicles and dive equipment which have been used in the course of offending which are owned by a third party.

"In most cases, these items are not able to be returned to their rightful owners for several months, if at all."

The national paua limit is ten paua per person per day. Blackfoot paua must be a minimum of 125 millimetres (excluding some areas in the Taranaki region).

"Nearly all of the three hundred and sixty four paua seized were undersized and this is a real frustration because it can have harmful effects on future paua stock in the area," said Mr Green.

"It is important to comply with catch limits as this increases species sustainability and ensures future fish stocks for generations."

The public could report suspicious fishing activity by phoning 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).

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STOP RIGHT THERE: An image of the alleged offenders being intercepted by fisheries staff.

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