The Ministry of Fisheries says a large paua poaching operation in Dunedin has been shut down.
The ministry and the police have seized 1500 paua shells from a house, as well as about 285 paua believed to have been sold by poachers throughout the city.
The ministry's Field Operations Manager, Murray Pridham, says the seizures are the result of several months of surveillance work by fisheries officers around the Otago Peninsula.
Mr Pridham says 20 people have been interviewed and it's likely the ringleaders will be prosecuted.
They could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison, or a $250,000 fine.