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Police crack down on illegal crayfish catch in Hauraki Gulf

2 min read
Crayfish

Photo: Supplied

A group of boaties were caught in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf after a member of the public tipped off NZ Police about divers possessing undersized crayfish.

Sergeant Peter Comer, of the Auckland Maritime Unit, reported that an informant alerted Great Barrier Police about three vessels with divers in the water off the coast of Great Barrier Island, following which the Police Maritime Unit was dispatched to investigate.

“Police Launch Deodar III was soon in the area, however upon approaching the vessels, the largest of the three began steaming away from the island,” said Sergeant Comer.

The 8.8-meter vessel, equipped with twin outboards, was intercepted by the Police Maritime Unit shortly after, who stopped them using lights and sirens.

“Officers boarded and searched the vessel where our teams located 21 packhorse crayfish, some of which were undersize,” Sergeant Comer said. Those found to be undersized were confiscated and returned to the ocean.

Upon further inspection of the two additional vessels, Sergeant Comer confirmed that those on board the vessels had the appropriate quota and size of packhorse crayfish.

“Between the three vessels, a total of 45 packhorse crayfish were inspected,” he noted.

Sergeant Comer emphasised the importance of adherence to Fisheries laws.

“The Police Maritime Unit wants to remind the public they are here for your safety, but if you are breaking Fisheries laws, it will only be a matter of time before Police and/or Fisheries New Zealand Fishery Officers end up speaking to you.”

He also highlighted the collaborative efforts in maintaining sustainable fisheries.

“Police are continuing to work with our partner agencies to ensure we are all working together to keep New Zealand fisheries sustainable for the future.”

Enquiries into the circumstances remain ongoing. Sergeant Comer also extended gratitude to the member of the public who initially reported the suspicious activity, encouraging others to do the same.

“If the public see anything of concern or if you suspect poaching, please call 0800 4 POACHER. You can also contact Police via 111 if something is happening now or on 105 if it is after the fact.”

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