18 Oct 2011

Fisheries officials seek greater links with Maori

7:35 pm on 18 October 2011

The Ministry of Fisheries in Gisborne wants to increase its engagement with local communities, particularly Maori, on educating them about daily catch and size limits for harvesting kaimoana.

In the first two weeks of October, local paua stocks have been repeatedly plundered by poachers, who have also taken advantage of the king tides along the East Coast which expose undersized shellfish at abnormally low tidal levels.

Fisheries officers apprehended a man - identified as a recidivist paua poacher - at Sponge Bay on 8 October. He was caught with 750 undersized abalone.

The field operations manager for Poverty Bay/East Coast says because most of the officers come from the area, it is easier for them to relate to locals and get the message out about the best sustainable kaimoana practises.

Tom Teneti says despite the recent paua poaching incidents, Tai Rawhiti people are more aware of the protocols around collecting seafood than those in other rohe or areas.

Mr Teneti says with Gisborne's high Maori population, it is not uncommon for them to use the resource to cater for customary events such as hui and tangihanga, or funerals.

The ministry also has a good relationship with Poverty Bay and Ngati Porou iwi and consults with them on a regular basis, he says.