March 06, 2017
Toheroa temptation could bring big fine
Toheroa are coming back to Te Oneroa a Tohe – 90 Mile Beach – but people are warned to leave them alone.
Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Steve Rudsdale says collecting the giant shellfish was closed in 1982 after a massive reduction in numbers.
He says while it’s good to see more juvenile toheroa on the far north beach, their existence remains fragile and they cannot be disturbed.
Toheroa look similar to the more prolific tuatua, but their shells are more brittle and slightly rounder.
A simple test is to sit the shellfish on its base on the sand with the sharp end standing up. A tuatua should stay standing, balanced on its flat base while the toheroa should fall over.
Toheroa can only be collected with a customary fishing permit issued by local iwi.
People caught with up to 50 toheroa face a $500 infringement fine, and over 50 there is a maximum fine of $20,000.
Mr Rusdale says while fisheries officers will use discretion and explain the difference between tuatua and toheroa, they will not tolerate people deliberately or repeatedly taking toheroa.
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