A clear message for the paua poachers

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One Kaitaia woman was so sickened by Fisheries officers' most recent seizure of illegally-harvested paua (Just another day at Ahipara, Northland Age February 16) that she has voiced her outrage on Facebook.

And she has been getting support from one end of the country to the other.

The last straw for Rachele Mathews, who grew up at Whangape and has spent her life by the sea and harvesting from it, was the seizure by Fisheries officers of scores of undersize paua in the course of a two-hour patrol at Ahipara last month. That patrol, and two others over a two-week period, resulted in about 250 undersized paua being confiscated, with a number of infringement notices issued and the possibility of prosecutions.

All those caught breaching the regulations were described as locals (Ahipara, Kaitaia and surrounding area). Three of them were from Ms Mathews' family, but that did not protect them from her wrath.

"Take a good look people, because if you don't wake up now then you might as well kiss our kaimoana goodbye," she wrote.

"The picture (published February 16) is only a percent(age) of the paua that are being raped on a daily basis from our back yard. Three dickheads were apprehended with this haul, so just imagine how many other dickheads aren't being caught.

"And don't give me that bullshit story they were doing it to feed the whanau. They're selling them. I'm sick and tired of people blaming outsiders. It's our OWN people. All you are doing is stealing from our mokopuna, because there will be nothing left for them, and it will be up to them to try and bring the paua back from extinction.

"You make me sick if you are part of this, and I have no empathy if you get caught. And if you are buying them from these mongrels then you are just as much to blame.

"Ten per person per day is plenty to feed a whanau.

"And it's not about playing by the white man's law. You all want to moan about the Fisheries officers yet you'll sit back as quiet as a mouse when there's a kuzzy selling off paua - pffft! Get your priorities right.

"A rahui is there for a reason. Oh, and if you condone this happening then do me one and get off my page!"

- Northland Age

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