A teenager and budding inventor in Auckland, New Zealand named Mitchell Hollows had a problem. He enjoyed diving to gather paua – the Maori name for an edible shellfish, referred to in the United States as abalone – but only paua of a certain size can be legally removed from the sea, and he knew that any undersized shells he gathered could bleed to death when placed back on the rocks where they were found.
So Hollows, a South Otago senior, did what any 18-year-old would do. Well, maybe not any. He built a hand-held underwater tool that points a laser onto a paua shell and returns the shell's size to the device. Whether or not the snail is of legal size can be determined without even touching it.
"You can just go scan, scan, scan, pop off the legal ones and you're away laughing," the young scientist told New Zealand's 1 News Now.
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The young fisherman was compelled to create the tool after he learned that paua are hemophiliac and can be damaged, lethally so, when they are measured in the traditional method, which involves picking them up from their rocks.