Paua poaching alarms resident
Paua poaching is not on the rise at Pukerua Bay, according to the Ministry of Primary Industries, but that doesn’t mean residents aren’t watching for it.
Pukerua Bay resident Pauline Morse said she had seen one group taking paua from the water in Pukerua Bay last month, despite the area long being a zone where only hand-held line fishing was allowed.
‘‘I went for a walk near Wairaka Rock and saw a group of six or seven people getting paua,’’ she said.
‘‘They said to me they were doing well [getting paua], but I told them off.’’
Morse said she had also heard of another group in hi-viz vests poaching at Pukerua Bay.
‘‘When you see people like that, you think what they’re doing is official. It’s very sneaky.’’
She said the signage around the bay was inadequate and could be obscured by parked cars, but ministry district compliance manager Mike Green said the six signs that were there were the most in a concentrated area anywhere in the country.
‘‘The signs are very new and it says ‘This is a closed area’ in big red letters,’’ he said.
Green said poaching occurred more frequently in the warmer months, but there was no more activity this summer at Pukerua Bay than in previous years.
There had been eight poacher calls in the last six months, he said, and all were followed up. There are no active prosecutions for people caught poaching at Pukerua Bay.
Areas such as Titahi Bay, Wainuiomata and Wellington’s south coast experienced more instances of poaching, Green said, but Pukerua Bay residents being on the alert was appreciated.
‘‘Pukerua Bay Residents Association members are vocal and they advise us of issues in the area regularly, which we appreciate.
‘‘We’re in contact with them regularly and we listen to their suggestions,’’ he said.
Green said rangers regularly patrolled at Pukerua Bay, and all phone calls to the ministry on 0800 POACHER were taken seriously.
Poaching of undersized paua is a plague around Wellington’s coasts.