Pa¯ ua checkpoint catches everyone
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.