An eagle-eyed member of the public has helped Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers apprehend a group of divers who took excessive amounts of pāua and kina from an area east of the Coromandel.
Fishery officers were tipped off through MPI's 0800 poacher line to suspicious activity in the Kuaotunu area where 4 men were diving for kina and pāua.
The officers stopped the men's vehicle after observing them diving and a search of the vehicle revealed 123 undersized and excess pāua, and 517 kina.
The daily limit for pāua is 10 per person per day with a minimum length of 125mm. The daily limit for kina is 50 person with no size limit.
MPI spokesman Jason Howat says the pāua the men took ranged in size from as small as 66mm to approximately 120mm.
"Three of the men will likely face prosecution for the excess and undersize pāua.
"All of the 4 men will receive infringement fines totalling $2,000 for the kina they took.
"A Toyota Hilux valued at $20,000 belonging to one of the men and used in the offending was seized as was the diving gear used in the offence."
Mr Howat says MPI fishery officers rely on the vigilance of local communities in remote coastal areas to report suspicious activity through MPI's 0800 4 POACHER line.
"The public are our eyes and ears. We're very grateful for their valued support.
"This type of offending shows a total disregard for the sustainability of our valuable fisheries resources and is very disappointing.
"The result of these men's actions should serve as a very clear deterrent to people considering taking that chance. It demonstrates that even on a Monday, late afternoon in a remote coastal location, you are not shielded from being apprehended if you choose to disregard the rules."
Check the fishing rules for your area