Greedy snapper thieves lose car and boat, face likely prosecution
15 April 2010
Two men who took 130 snapper and then tried to hide them from Fishery Officers have had their car and boat seized and are likely to face prosecution.
The two were stopped for a routine inspection between Kaiaua and the launching ramp at Kawakawa Bay, in the Firth of Thames.
The pair initially told the Fishery Officers they had had “no luck” with their fishing and had no fish. However, the officers noticed a large sack inside the car and found it contained 38 snapper, four of which were smaller than the minimum legal size of 27 centimetres.
After again asking the men whether they had any further fish and being told they did not, the officers directed the men to open the boot of the car. The Fishery Officers found two more large sacks, both containing large quantities of snapper.
In total, the officers found 130 snapper, five of which were undersized. The daily legal limit for snapper in the Auckland Fisheries Management area is nine per person, so the maximum the pair could legally have taken was 18.
Ministry of Fisheries Regional Manager Ian Bright said it was very disappointing that a small minority of fishers still think they have the right to take as many fish as they want.
“Despite our heavily promoted, summer-long Every Fish Counts campaign, these two have callously taken more than seven times their legal limit, in effect stealing the fish from other members of their community and from their children and grandchildren.”
Because the men’s offending was on such a large scale, their car, boat and fishing gear have all been seized and both are likely to face prosecution. Should they be convicted, the car, boat and fishing equipment will automatically be permanently forfeit to the Crown.
Ian Bright urges anyone who sees potentially illegal fishing activity to call the Ministry’s 0800 4 POACHER number - 0800 476 224. “We all need to work together to protect our fishing resources for now and into the future,” he says.