Paua poach­ing alarms res­i­dent

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

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.

PHOTO: FAIRFAX NZ

Poach­ing of un­der­sized paua is a plague around Welling­ton’s coasts.

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