Illegal paua haul sparks police hunt

Police are looking for a man who poached 272 undersized paua in Hicks Bay on the East Coast of the North Island.

The haul of shucked paua and a four-wheel drive vehicle were seized.

The driver of the 4WD, a youth under 14, was arrested but his adult companion is still on the run.

"We know who he is but police are still looking for him," said Ministry of Fisheries district compliance officer Tom Teneti. "He's a transient individual."

Mr Teneti says there were no words to express how he felt about the theft.

"You're robbing from the next generation. It impacts on the local community as well."

The shucked paua have been returned to the sea. Dead or alive, it is normal process to return stolen and undersize paua to the ecosystem, Mr Teneti said.

- Gisborne Herald

Get off your high horse

"You're robbing from the next generation. It impacts on the local community as well."

Please, Mr Teneti, explain how "it" impacts on the local community? Does the local community have exact knowledge of every paua in their area? I would suggest that commercial fisheries are the ones robbing the next generation and the people that let the commercial fisherman/paua divers in that area are....wait for it....The local Ministry of Fisheries.
Television shows such as Coast Watch highlight a minor problem with our sea life and show Fisheries Officers with little knowledge of the problem regurgitating force feed information from their 6 week officer cadet training.
It seems ridiculous that a commercial diver can take several thousand paua per day, everyday, yet a recreational diver who takes a few dozen extra paua is labelled as robbing from the next generation and a poacher and shown on television as a criminal.
The true criminals are the Ministry of Fisheries that will prosecute your everyday Joe Bloggs for taking extra paua then open the same area up to commercial fisheries to completely wipe out the all the paua that were there. Don't believe me? Just take a look at Warrington Beach and Shag Point and see what the paua stocks are like there. [Abridged]

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