A recent Fisheries undercover operation by Auckland Ministry of Fisheries has uncovered a large scale operation involving the sending of black-market paua to Hong Kong using the postal system. This paua is estimated to be worth in excess of $12,000 in Hong Kong. Paua on the domestic market retails for approximately $250 per kilogram.
Enquiries have linked 120 such postings to this group so far this year, the total weight of seafood posted being in excess of two tonnes meat-weight.
Enquires are continuing into a further 200 similar postings involving a total of weight in excess of six tonnes of Paua meat, (approximately 80,000 to 100,000 individual Paua).
These matters are a continuation of Operation Pacman and some of the offenders from that operation have now appeared in Court.
The amount of black-market paua being stripped from our waters illegally and exported was in the hundreds of tonnes and worth many millions of dollars to crime groups. The resultant cost to the New Zealand economy is huge and even worse, the effect on the resource over time will be devastating.