Hundreds of undersized paua have been seized after a massive illegal haul was discovered at the weekend.
The shock find came as two men were spotted by fisheries officers shucking paua at Green Pt, south of Titahi Bay on the Wellington coastline.
Ministry for Primary Industries area manager Mike Green said when officers inspected a bag during a routine search they found nearly 300 shucked shellfish. Just one of the catch was above the right size.
"All but one were under the 125mm legal size. Unfortunately, because they were shucked we couldn't return them to the sea.
He said the men's dive gear and other equipment used to take the paua was seized.
Both men were likely to face charges under the Fisheries Act and appear before the court in coming weeks.
Green said the latest bust showed people were still willing to break the law despite MPI fisheries officers patrolling New Zealand's coastlines on a regular basis.
"This sort of blatant illegal behaviour is really disappointing," he said.