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Commercial Fishing

ILLEGAL SHELLFISH HAUL TAKEN IN NEW ZEALAND

ILLEGAL SHELLFISH HAUL

Illegal shellfish haul taken in New Zealand. Two men are likely to face court action after being found in possession of 3,526 pipi (a type of bivalve mollusc) taken from the Ohiwa Harbour near Kutarere in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) spokesman Richard Ratapu says the men were caught with the illegal take during a routine inspection.

He says fishery officers were shocked by the find.

“These men’s actions are extremely disappointing. They have shown a complete disregard for the daily legal pipi recreational allowance of 150 per person and have given no thought to the sustainability of Ohiwa Harbour’s pipi stocks. A quarter of the pipi were far too small to even consider eating.

“What is also concerning is that the men are local. We would expect them to have a greater knowledge of the law, as well as the impact their actions could have on the ability of other pipi gatherers to collect their own legal take.”

The illegal shellfish haul of pipi were seized and returned immediately to the sea.

Mr Ratapu says the Ohiwa pipi beds are an important source of kaimoana to the local community and visitors alike, and it is essential everybody plays their part in protecting it for future generations.

He says fishery officers closely monitor the area, and anyone taking more than their daily limit can expect to be held to account.

Pipi are edible and easily collected for food; traditional cooking methods include boiling and making into fritters. They are often used as the “clams” in clam chowder. The harvest limit in New Zealand is 50 per person per day, and although a minimum size is not stipulated in the regulations, only larger pipi should be taken. For Māori, pipi are a traditional food resource, and in earlier times were gathered in specific flax baskets made for this purpose. Smaller specimens would fall between the woven strips and back into the beds to grow as the basket was gently swirled through the water.

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