By Laura Dooney
Fisheries face a never-ending battle when it comes to paua poaching in the Wellington region.
The region's been referred to as the paua poaching capital of the country, in light of three men making their way through the courts on charges of poaching 867 paua from Titahi Bay.
MPI's district compliance manager for Wellington Mike Green says it's hard to keep on top of paua poachers.
"These people are quite organised sometimes. Groups of three and four. They don't work just during the day, they work at night. They stash the product to go back when it's safe. They have lots and lots of different methods."
Mr Green says fisheries officers rely on other networks, and tip offs from the public.
He says it's a well known fact Wellington has good paua stock around its coast.
"For a number of years now we have battled and fought with people who we call paua poachers or paua thieves who are taking it for the purposes of sale."
Mr Green says the paua is sold at fish and chip shops, and in black markets as far away as Auckland.