Ministry for Primary Industries fishery officers have shut down a long-running crayfish black market ring based on the East Coast. So far 7 people face prosecution, MPI says.
More than 25 fisheries officers assisted New Zealand Police conducting search warrants across the Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay from 23-25 October.
A total of 169 crayfish were seized in the search. The majority were undersized.
MPI team manager fisheries compliance mid-central, Adam Plumstead, says the operation targeted an extended family group who had allegedly been taking and selling large numbers of crayfish in contravention of the Fisheries Act 1996.
Mr Plumstead reported MPI believed the extended family has been running the ring for a long time, sometimes hauling up to 250 crayfish from the Tolaga Bay area, then distributing these around Kawarau and Rotorua.