Coastline attracts paua poachers

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With Oamaru having a rocky coastline suitable for paua, the Ministry of Primary Industries is asking people to report suspicious fishing activity.

The request comes in light of a case at the Oamaru District Court on Thursday where a 37-year-old man was convicted of taking more than the daily limit of paua and undersized paua from Bushy Beach in March.

Ministry for Primary Industries Otago District compliance manager Murray Pridham said nine people had been apprehended in the Oamaru area for paua-related offences over the past 12 months.

“This includes one person caught with 184 paua, which is serious non-commercial offending,” he said.

“People who take too many paua or under-size paua put the sustainability of the paua fishery at risk and the ability for people to legally gather and enjoy paua in the future.”

The Ministry for Primary Industries had six full-time compliance officers who cover an area from the Rangitata River to Long Point in the Catlins, he said.

A further 12 honorary fisheries officers support these staff and cover an area from Timaru to the Catlins.

MPI honorary fishery officers are trained, uniformed volunteers that assist full-time compliance officers with fisheries inspections and education around recreational fishing regulations.

“We always appreciate accurate and detailed information from the public,” Mr Pridham said.

“When there’s thousands of eyes and ears out there, it allows our compliance officers to be very targeted and effective.”

The national recreational limit for paua is 10 paua per person per day. Size limits apply.

Members of the public can confidentially report any suspicious fishing activity by phoning 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD

ROCKY COASTLINE: A man was convicted in the Oamaru District Court last week of paua-related offending at Bushy Beach (pictured).