Divers help put 200,000 baby paua back to sea

EMMA DANGERFIELD
Last updated 11:30 08/11/2012

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Paua stocks along the Kaikoura coast have been replenished by 200,000 baby paua raised through the efforts of divers in the area.

The restocking was done during October. Paua3 member Phil Richardson released another 58,000 last week.

At 50 cents each for the baby paua, the association has spent more than $100,000 during the past month.

The paua being introduced north and south of Kaikoura are small, and at only 12 months old will take about five years to reach legal size.

Reseeding co-ordinator Jason Ruawai says they could grow to 30 millimetres during the next six months, then slow down their growth for winter.

It will take at least four years for them to reach maturity, when they will become part of the reproductive cycle and produce offspring, although this is often only one or two.

They then take a further year or more to reach legal size for harvesting.

"We are only working on a factor of 10 to 50 per cent survival rate," he says.

"There are so many different factors out there, from habitat, predators, weather . . .

"They are really up against it."

The Paua3 association is made up of groups who own commercial quota to take paua.

The annual reseeding programme is funded through levies paid by each quota owner.

At the association's annual meeting, a group is appointed to undertake work such as the reseeding project.

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- The Marlborough Express

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