Kaikoura's paua stocks have been replenished by a staggering 200,000 baby paua throughout October, through the efforts of local divers.
Paua3 member Phil Richardson prepared to release a further 58,000 last week.
At 50 cents each, the association has spent more than $100,000 over the past month.
The paua being introduced north and south of Kaikoura are incredibly small, and at only 12 months old will take about five years until they reach legal size.
Reseeding co-ordinator Jason Ruawai says over the next six months they could increase in size to 25 or 30 millimetres, then slow down their growth for winter.
It will take at least three to 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 until they reach legal size to be harvested.
"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 different groups which own quota.
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.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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