Nine resturants and fish and chips shops in Taranaki are being investigated for buying and selling black market fish and paua.
The Ministry of Fisheries says raids have been carried out after public tip-offs and surveillance.
District compliance manager Mike Green says more than 150kg of seafood appear to have come from poachers.
He says that poses a high health and safety risk to consumers, as no-one is certain whether the products are fresh, or how they've been stored.
Mr Green says they will be talking to the owners of the food outlets over the coming days to decide whether they will face charges.