A Tararua iwi is keen to work with authorities to educate beachgoers after a find of hundreds of undersized paua.
Ngati Kahungunu ki Tamaki nui a Rua chairman Hayden Hape was disappointed when he discovered the shells at Akitio Beach over the holidays where the majority were under size.
He said it wasn't a particular group; "It's everybody."
Akitio was not well-policed and the signs that were there had been there a long time which Hape felt gave people the idea that they could just "do what they like".
He said it was difficult to tell whether it was because of resources or the lack of decent signs.
"A lot of people should be educated before they get into the water anyway, but, if you've got clean, shiny ministry signs up explaining what's going on, it tends to give people the impression that it's well-policed and the presence is here."
While there was an abundance of paua along the East Coast in this area, it was not the same for other areas.
Hape said the shellfish didn't get the opportunity to grow to a certain size. Part of the reason was climate, but another reason was recreational fishing.
He said there was commercial fishing but that was managed. "We know how much the commercial guys are taking each year."
However, recreational fishing wasn't documented.
"That's something we want to target - having the ability to be able to allow people themselves to contribute towards collecting data."
Hape was keen to work with the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Horizons Regional Council, as well as the community, to build an app that required people to register.
It would not only be for recreational fishing, but for health and safety as well.
For instance, those who were going out boating had to radio in to let people know where they were going and when they expected to be back. So those going out diving could do the same.
Hape said that would give information like where they were diving, where they came from, what they had caught and average size.
"It allows us to accumulate data."
He said he wanted to start conversations around what the iwi wanted to do.
Those conversations included working with hapu and the community and getting a resource to start mapping the reefs and doing some documentation on how the reefs were performing and the impact of changes.
Hape also wanted an education programme which would teach people about the reef and its inhabitants.
Part of that idea was in the months when there were more visitors, they could have people giving a history of the reef and the various species that lived there.
Hape felt the finding of the undersized paua was a sign for people to help.
"It's not about separating people. It's not about disconnecting them from the moana. It's actually sometimes we've got to allow a particular area to regenerate itself. And sometimes when something's taken away from you, it gives you the opportunity to sit back and reflect on your behaviour or the way you treat it, so that when it comes back you'll be more respectful."