‘Please call’ plea from Fishery Officers
8 December 2011
Fishery Officers are urging anyone who sees large numbers of fish floating at sea to call them as soon as possible.
Field Operations Manager Brendon Mikkelsen says that large-scale dumping of legal size fish, especially snapper, is not only illegal, it also poses a serious threat to the fishery.
“In order to catch those responsible and prevent them from doing it again, we need to react very quickly,” he says.
“It is usually an ordinary boatie or fisher who first notices a large amount of fish floating on the surface. The faster they call us, the greater our chances of identifying the offender and the extent of the offending.”
As well as immediately contacting the Ministry, those encountering large numbers of fish on the surface can help in other ways, too.
“Information and photographs can be of enormous value,” says Mr Mikkelsen. “If possible, we ask members of the public to record the position of any fish they encounter (including the latitude and longitude), the time and date and a brief description of the area (including wind and sea conditions).
“If there are any other vessels (either commercial or recreational) in the area, a detailed description of these, including names and numbers, can be incredibly useful too. So are photographs of these vessels and of the largest concentrations of floating fish.”
Mr Mikkelsen says boaties can also help by taking samples of any legal-sized fish.
“However, the best thing they can do is call us immediately on our free 0800 4 POACHER line (0800 476 224).
“That way, we can get flights up, get Fishery Officers into the area and gather the evidence we need to catch those responsible.
“Together let’s target those who are blatantly breaking the rules and help protect our fisheries for future generations.”
What to do if you see large numbers of floating fish at sea
- Photograph largest concentrations of fish visible on the surface.
- Record the position of fish, including latitude and longitude of the area.
- Pick up samples of legal sized fish (fishers must return all undersized fish to the sea).
- Record the time, date and place and a brief summary of what you have seen and done; include a description of sea and weather conditions.
- Write down the particulars (description, name and number) of any boat present in the vicinity and photograph if possible. Include a record of the movement of any commercial or recreational vessels in the area.
- Immediately call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) and tell MAF what you have seen.