Fisheries Minister David Parker has sought official advice on how to update the rules around recreational bag limits for pink maomao fish.
The move comes after Tairua residents blocked access to their main wharf and turned out in numbers over alleged "wholesale slaughter" of the species.
Pink maomao, also called longfin perch, is an elusive and unprotected fish species. They are not included in any recreational catch limits.
Last week, documentary maker Mike Bhana filmed a group of fishermen returning from nearby coastal fisheries with what he says was 1500-2000 pink maomao fish, a species of high value to Asian markets.
Ngati Hei kaumātua Joe Davis imposed an immediate rahui, calling it a "shocking" abuse of a legislative loophole.
"Stop the abuse of Tangaroa's mokopuna. Most of the species out there are heading towards extinction," he said.
Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said he was aware of the issue and aware that a petition had been launched.
There are more than 7100 signatures on the change.org petition calling for recreational limits to be imposed on pink maomao by the Minister.
"I'm aware MPI has received a number of complaints from the community in Tairua about the illegal sale of pink maomao," Parker said.
"My officials advise they are looking into the matter, and I'd expect that where there are breaches of the rules they are appropriately dealt with.
"In the meantime, I've asked officials for advice on how we can update the rules around bag limits."
The day after footage of the pink maomao haul was published, a group of fishermen arrived at a wharf below Mt Paku in Tairua but did not launch their boat. They were told the vehicle and trailer would not be in the same condition when they returned.
"The fishermen were confronted and told if their car was there in 20 minutes it would be torched," said Bhana, who watched the group put the boat on the trailer and leave soon after.
He said he did not believe they were from the same group he had filmed the previous day with what he estimated was 1500-2000 pink maomao fish.
"People are really angry and the worry is somebody does something stupid and a local ends up in trouble and these guys carry on what they're doing."
Coromandel-based Facebook pages have been created to record and share sightings of the vehicles, which included 4WD utes and alloy boats about 5m to 7m in size, carrying between five and six fishermen plus a skipper on each.
There were reports last week that some of the vehicles known to have been used by the group of fishermen seen on Thursday had been damaged prior to the footage being broadcast.
Tairua charter fisherman Jason Harris said he was getting interest for fishing charters seeking different fish species including reef species like pink maomao and leather jackets.
He said via Facebook that Strikezone fishing charters had no connection whatsoever to the perpetrators of the fishing activity caught on film.
"Like other charter boats countrywide we take fishermen that want to target less desirable species and this usually happens over a three-month period in the middle of winter. Pink maomao are often targeted and on a day when they are biting well, you could fill the boat with these fish.
"Although there is no quota on them we have a self-imposed limit of 30 each per angler. We are licensed to take six people so on a red hot day it is possible to take nearly 200 of these fish."
A storm of comments proceeded. "You get to make the rules in this situation, so you can set the example for people. That's far too many fish per person," said Sophie Parker.
Recreational fishing lobby Legasea is advocating for a maximum of three pink maomao per person under a recreational limit.
An MPI spokesperson urged people to use its 0800 poacher hotline if they had information.