New data shows a decrease in the number of pāua illegally taken from Wellington’s coastlines.

The information, released by Fisheries New Zealand to RNZ, shows the number of offences relating to pāua in the past eight years.

Between 1 July, 2015 and 30 June, 2016, there were 112 offences related to the shellfish.

That compared to 52 offences in 2022/23 over the same period.

The period that saw the most offences was 2016/17, when there were 114.

Fisheries New Zealand attributed the drop to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and more readily available information about the rules for taking seafood through technology such as apps.

Fisheries compliance director Steve Ham told RNZ there was increasing concern in the public about the environmental impacts of poaching.

“People are becoming far more environmentally aware and the material out there now to understand the rules is a lot more readily available.

“We always like to promote the fishing app. We’ve had a huge increase of people downloading the app, which is really quite encouraging.”

Ham said the public could expect fisheries officers to be a familiar sight near the coast this summer.

“Although we have got full-time officers working over the summer break, we also have around 200 honorary fishery officers that work throughout the country over that summer period. They’re sort of targeting fishing spots, boat ramps and areas where people generally will be.”

He said areas in the Wellington region like Eastbourne, Porirua and Makara were popular both with divers and the public.

“Generally, you’ll be seen by someone when you’re out and about diving, so it pays to understand the rules and not take an illegal catch.”

In September, recreational daily pāua limits were reduced for the lower and central North Island to five of each pāua species per fisher.

To report pāua poaching, people can call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24), or email [email protected].