Kaikoura's relocated paua 'doing well'
A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) scientist says relocated paua along the Kaikoura coast are doing well.
Dr Julie Hills, an MPI fisheries scientist, inspected paua beds along the coast on Sunday.
"It will be a while before we know for sure if they have taken to their new environment," she said.
"Paua, as a species, are hundreds of thousands of years old. They are exceptional because they evolve to fit a changed environment.
"It doesn't happen overnight though. It can sometimes take many, many years. This area of Kaikoura's coast will need careful treatment and management for some time to come."
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Two weeks after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, volunteers and organised groups continue to relocate affected paua.
Mike Vincent, founder of the paua rescue group, estimated they had relocated between 20 and 50 tonnes of paua.
He said MPI and commercial divers who had inspected the relocated molluscs were "pretty impressed" with the results.
"They couldn't find any dead stuff. Everything that's been positioned was still there and looking good."
Vincent said the volunteers had not been able to save all the paua.
The smell of dead sea life was mostly "a weedy smell", because seagulls had cleaned up most of the dead paua, he said.
"Nature's doing its thing, mate."
The volunteers would continue their work in coming weeks, as the New Zealand Transport Agency allowed access to more areas of the coast.
Vincent said they had left areas with a lot of bull kelp until last, because the paua would be able to survive in the damp environment out of the sun.
"We just want to get on with is so we can save as much as possible," he said.
"It's been a massive effort and I would like to thank Te Runanga o Kaikoura, MPI and the Kaikoura Paua Relocation and Relief effort for their combined support for the continued relocation of our precious taonga."
Last week, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced temporary fishery closures around Kaikoura.
Paua relocation work is being carried out under a special permit, and must be directly supervised by MPI staff.