A programme to install webcams on Kāpiti Island is being expanded in an effort to clamp down on illegal poachers.

The first webcam was installed at the end of 2018 and another last year. The group behind them, Guardians of the Kāpiti Marine Reserve, say they are already having an impact.

In 2019, the Department of Conservation (DOC) recorded 15 instances of things like issuing warnings and prosecutions – more than double the previous year from when there was no webcams watching.

Ben Knight, chair of Guardians of the Kāpiti Marine Reserve, said the reserve – which was established in 1992 – was home to large numbers of crayfish, paua, butter fish, snapper, and blue cod.

“It’s home to quite the bounty of high value marine species… ecologically, but also economically to some people,” he said.

“Even just out here last summer I was diving right in front of the DOC base… we found fishing gear, hook, line and sinkers on the bottom out here.”

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