25 Nov 2015

BOP black market shellfish ring busted

4:39 pm on 25 November 2015

A black market shellfish ring has been busted in Bay of Plenty, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) says.

Beached empty paua shell.

Photo: 123rf

Fishery officers and the police searched several houses and business premises at Motiti Island, Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, seizing $15,000 worth of paua.

Dive gear and electronic equipment were also seized across Bay of Plenty over the past two days.

The year-long investigation revealed $30,000 worth of paua and more than $3000 worth of kina had been poached and sold, a MPI spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said divers gathered paua and kina around Motiti Island and sold them to a network of buyers in Tauranga, Whakatane, Hamilton and Auckland.

The ministry believed a Tauranga food business was involved in the sale of paua and kina, they said.

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