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Fishery officers and POLICE shut down long running east coast black market crayfish ring/

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Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers have shut down a long-running East Coast black market crayfish ring that was allegedly being run by an extended family.

More than 25 fishery officers, assisted by New Zealand Police staff, conducted 5 search warrants across the Poverty Bay and Bay of Plenty regions over the past 2 days, specifically in Tolaga Bay, Rotorua and Kawerau.

A total of 169 crayfish – the majority of which are undersized – were seized as well as a quantity of kina, 2 vehicles, diving gear and a boat.

So far, 7 people could potentially face prosecution action, however, enquiries are ongoing.

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.

"We believe this family has been operating a black market ring for quite some time, with regular hauls of sometimes up to 250 crayfish from the Tolaga Bay area that were then distributed around Kawerau and Rotorua," says Mr Plumstead.









Hope they get all the retailers and restaurants also and fined them more than $25,000 each.

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