The most pressing matter the industry has at this time is the level of poaching that is occurring. If the current levels of illegal take continue there could be anxious times ahead as the double impact of loss of fish stocks and competition in the market place from illegal product gets worse.

An industry Working Group comprised of MFish, PICL and TOKM/AFL representatives hasbeen established and it is now putting runs on the board.

The Minster of Fisheries has signed off the group’s first report and has committed additional resources including senior fisheries managers. The Minister has also instructed his officials on the working group to work collaboratively with the industry which is a real first and is completely new territory for MFish.

The Working Group is making very good progress working through an assessment framework that will prioritize initiatives to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing of paua. Within the next few months various options will be floated to industry so the range of initiatives identified by the Working Group can be prioritized. These may include law changes for fishing, exporting and the way penalties are imposed.

Initiatives will also include making the detection of offending easier to recognize. Input from industry representatives has been incorporated into important compliance initiatives and decisions.