A massive illegal haul of pāua, mostly undersized, has been uncovered in Taranaki following an operation by the police and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Fishery officers and police discovered four people with a total of 736 pāua, 703 of which were undersized after they were stopped at a checkpoint.
A vehicle and a set net have been seized. They now face serious charges.
The Taranaki region has a lower minimum size for pāua because the shellfish are naturally small and never reach the minimum legal size that applies to the rest of the country.
Fishery officers have returned all of the shellfish to the sea.