By Anna Williams
A group of Mongrel Mob members have been caught leaving the Marlborough Sounds with two sacks of undersized paua.
An anonymous call was made to a poaching hotline about a group of men seen diving for paua at Hakahaka Bay in Port Underwood on Tuesday.
They were seen leaving with two full sacks.
Sergeant Kris Payne, of Picton, said police stopped five men and a child in a car on Waikawa Rd, Picton. The men were known Mongrel Mob members from Blenheim and Picton. They told police they had caught the paua for a funeral at a marae.
The legal size of paua is 12.5 centimetres and the daily legal limit without a permit is 10 per person.
Mr Payne said he could tell by looking at their catch that they were undersized.
Ministry for Primary Industries district compliance manager Ian Bright said the men had 103 paua between them. Of those, 91 were undersized. The smallest was 9.5cm.
The men did not have a permit, Mr Bright said.
Anyone caught with up to two times the legal limit of paua, like the Mongrel Mob members, could be fined $250. Equipment could be confiscated for more serious issues.
Anyone who wants to report illegal poaching can call the poaching hotline on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).