Fisheries officers are hunting a group of men who've been attempting to sell paua to bakeries and take-aways in the Whangarei area.
The Ministry for Primary Industries is appealing for help to find a trio suspected of illegally selling the seafood
All are believed to be Maori and aged between 35 and 40 years.
The ministry is reminding people that buying illegal kai moana is a serious offence with fines of up to $250,000.
It says the food can only be bought from legitimate commercial premises or a commercial fisherman.