The seizure of a recreational fisherman's boat for ignoring scallop dredging rules is being held up as an example of what can happen to others.
The fisherman, who was dredging in the Hauraki Gulf, had 67 scallops, 51 of which were under-sized.
The daily limit is 20 and the minimum size is 100mm.
Ministry for Primary Industries compliance manager Mike Simmons said the man had not returned the scallops to the sea at the first opportunity, a legal requirement of dredging.
"Fishers who disregard the rules are endangering a pastime many New Zealanders enjoy, especially with summer approaching," he said.
The boat worth $50,000 was seized and there is a process to get it back.
If the offending is serious enough, the court can order the boat to be forfeited permanently to the Crown. The fisher is likely to face fisheries charges with a maximum penalty of $20,000.