Fishery officers seize dive gear
6 July 2012
Two men are facing fisheries charges and will be appearing in court after being apprehended by fishery officers in two separate incidents at Otama Beach in the Coromandel.
In the first incident on 16 June, a 43 year old Tairua man was apprehended diving for mussels. He was found to be in possession of 118 green lipped mussels with the daily allowable limit per person being 25. He will now be facing a charge of taking more than three times the daily allowable limit. He has also had his dive gear seized which will be subject to forfeiture by the court if convicted of the offence.
In the second incident on 30 June, a 47 year old Whitianga man was apprehended by an Honorary Fishery Officer (HFO) after diving. A sack containing 69 excess and undersize paua was subsequently located hidden in long grass beside the man’s vehicle where he was changing out of his wetsuit. The daily allowable limit for paua is 10 per person and the minimum size limit is 125mm. He is now likely facing charges of taking excess and undersize paua and his dive gear has also been seized.
The penalties for taking or possessing excess shellfish carry penalties of up to $20,000 and can also involve sentences of community service. Seizure and likely forfeiture to the Crown of property used in the offending and can include diver gear, vehicles and boats.
Bay of Plenty/Waikato/Coromandel District Compliance Manager Brendon Mikkelsen says “It’s disappointing when you see members of the community offending in this manner. People should be sticking to the limits and sizes and helping to sustain a fishery that is very important to local communities in areas like the Coromandel. These people are the minority; the vast majority stick to the rules and are responsible recreational fishers, they recognise it’s about taking individual responsibility.”
“Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers based in the Coromandel enjoy valuable public support in protecting the fishery resource. This is vital and plays a key part in ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the fishery,” says Mr Mikkelsen.
Members of the public who see any unlawful activity (including suspected poaching and/or offering seafood for sale on the black-market) are urged to phone the Ministry’s freephone hotline: 0800 4 POACHER (0800 4 76224) in confidence.
“The assistance of the public by reporting suspicious or illegal activity to Fishery Officers is a key element in protecting the fishery.”
See further information about recreational fishing limits
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