Pa¯ ua check­point catches ev­ery­one

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

Ev­ery pa¯ua gath­erer who was stopped at a Min­istry for Prime In­dus­tries/po­lice check­point at Ahipara on Satur­day was found to be in breach of the reg­u­la­tions.

Ev­ery one of them was local. MPI Fish­ery Com­pli­ance Team man­ager Steve Ruds­dale said the ma­jor­ity of those who manned the check­point, on Fore­shore Rd, were hon­orary fish­ery of­fi­cers, who were pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing re­sources for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions and gave gen­er­ously of their time.

The aim had been to check ve­hi­cles that had been at Tau­roa (Reef) Point where the pa¯ua beds come un­der im­mense pres­sure over the sum­mer months.

A to­tal of 30 ve­hi­cles were in­spected as they left the beach, re­sult­ing in the is­su­ing of 10 in­fringe­ment no­tices and two warn­ings for pos­ses­sion of ex­cess and un­der­size pa¯ua. One ve­hi­cle was seized, and the sole oc­cu­pant, who al­legedly had 44 pa¯ua, was fac­ing court ac­tion. A party of three, who had 61, all but three of them un­der­sized, were is­sued with in­fringe­ment no­tices.

“All the pa¯ua gath­er­ers in­spected were found to be in breach of the fish­eries reg­u­la­tions,” Mr Ruds­dale said.

“It was also very dis­ap­point­ing to see that all the per­sons ap­pre­hended were from the local area, and should be aware of the need to pro­tect this valu­able re­source. Pa¯ua are a slow­grow­ing species with poor re­pro­duc­tive abil­ity, and be­hav­iour of this type has a neg­a­tive im­pact on the stock.

“In this mod­ern age there is no ex­cuse for not know­ing the rules around daily bag and size lim­its, in­for­ma­tion that is read­ily avail­able from the MPI web­site (www.mpi.govt.nz) or by down­load­ing the free NZ Fish­ing app.”

All the shell­fish seized on Satur­day were re­turned to the wa­ter, while Mr Ruds­dale warned that the min­istry would con­tinue to be watch­ing at Ahipara, and else­where, to en­sure com­pli­ance with the reg­u­la­tions. The max­i­mum recre­ational pa¯ua take is 10 per per­son per day.

Satur­day’s check­point at Ahipara, where not one pa¯ ua gath­erer had fol­lowed the rules.

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