Greedy fisher loses boat, faces prosecution
28 October 2011
A man caught with 13 times his legal daily limit of snapper has had his boat seized and is almost certain to face prosecution.
The man, who is legally allowed to take 9 snapper a day, was instead found with 117 snapper, 17 of which were also under the 27-centimetre minimum size.
The man’s illegal haul was discovered when he was stopped at a nighttime checkpoint near the Kawakawa Bay boat ramp in south-east Auckland.
“Fishery officers stopped the man at about 10.30pm,” says Jason Corlett, Acting Field Operations Manager for the Ministry of Fisheries Auckland Region. “When they inspected his boat, they found many of the snapper, including all of the undersized fish, hidden in a drum in the bow, under a pile of anchor chain.”
Mr Corlett says the man admitted he knew he was breaking the law.
“He told the officers that he knew the bag and size limits for snapper. Unfortunately, he chose to ignore them.”
Mr Corlett says the man’s total catch weighed around 150 kilograms.
“This is an enormous amount for a single recreational fisher,” he says. “It represents a serious level of offending.
“As a result, the man’s 4-metre runabout, his outboard and trailer and all his fishing equipment have been seized. He will likely be prosecuted and, if convicted, will almost certainly face the permanent forfeiture of those items.”
Mr Corlett says while the vast majority of fishers keep to the rules, there is a small and persistent minority who do not.
“While that is very disappointing, these fish thieves need to realise that their catch can be checked at any time of the day or night. They should also be aware that the Ministry has ‘4 million guardians’ who keep an eye on our fishery and are quick to report any illegal activity.”
Members of the public who see any unlawful activity (including suspected poaching or offering seafood for sale on the black market) are urged to phone 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) in confidence.