Over 150 undersized pāua have been returned to the sea in northern Hawke's Bay after a joint operation by the Ministry for Primary Industries and police.
Last weekend, fishery officers and police checked the haul of a few fishermen and found a total of 156 undersized pāua in Mahia.
The pāua were returned to the sea, while the vehicle and gear of the alleged offenders, who may face prosecution, have been seized.
MPI director compliance Gary Orr said the "greed and lack of consideration for the marine ecosystem" from those caught is common.
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"Protecting our precious marine resources is not just the responsibility of Fishery Officers," he said.
"Those resources belong to New Zealand and we all have a responsibility to act as guardians of those resources for future generations."