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Toheroa ban remains to help recovery

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6/03/2017

Toheroa are making a comeback on Ninety Mile Beach but fisheries officers have warned that a ban remains on collecting the rare shellfish.

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Steve Rudsdale says the Northland beach has been empty of toheroa for many years and it is great to see the start of a recovery.

But he says their survival remains fragile and will be threatened if people don't leave them alone.

The toheroa fishery was closed across the country in 1982 after a big reduction in numbers.

The only exception is having a customary fishing permit.

Mr Rudsdale says people who are caught with or have disturbed up to 50 toheroa face a $500 fine.

Those caught with more than 50 toheroa face prosecution and a maximum fine of $20,000.

Mr Rudsdale says one difficulty for gatherers is that toheroa look similar to tuatua, which are more prolific and not subject to the same ban.

He says fisheries officers will be out and about on the beach to make people aware of the rules and help them tell the difference between toheroa and tuatua.

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