Recreational Fishing Fines From Today
15 November 2001
From today all New Zealanders may be subject to fishing infringement fees of up to $750 if they are found to be outside the recreational fishing laws.
It is the first time the Ministry of Fisheries has had the power to impose infringement fees of up to $750.
"We have recreational fishing rules to ensure there are plenty of fish for the future," said Neville Buckley, National Manager, Non Commercial Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries.
"The bag and size limits for recreational fishing are generous and allow plenty for the average family to have a good meal. There are a number of ways we try and get the message to those who break the fishing rules and being able to issue infringement fees will add to our effectiveness.
"There is an easy way to avoid the infringement fees, and that's by knowing the rules and sticking to them. We have an 0800 telephone number specially set up for anyone who wants to check out the rules, on 0800 4 RULES (0800 478 537), and the recreational fishing rules are also spelt out on our website (www.fish.govt.nz)."
From November 15, undersized or excess numbers of fish (or shellfish) may result in a fine of $250. Infringement fines for people with between two and three times the daily limit has been set at $500.
A new category, serious non-commercial offending, will apply to anyone caught with more than three times the legal daily limit. These offenders will not receive infringement notices, but will probably go to court and face maximum fines of up to $20,000 for each offence as well as the forfeiting any boat or vehicle used to commit any offence if found guilty.
The infringement notices will apply for each offence, meaning a person with too many fish or shellfish, some of which are undersized, may face a fine for each offence.
While Fishery Officers can issue infringement notices at the time offending is detected, some infringement notices will be issued once all the relevant details have been checked and considered.
Honorary Fishery Officers will record information and furnish a report to the Ministry of Fisheries so that a decision can be made on whether an infringement notice should be issued.
A process to manage infringement notices has been set up by the Ministry of Fisheries. Information relating to payment and other details for those who have been issued a notice has been printed on the notice itself.
- for breaches of shellfish and finfish minimum legal size limits
- for netting and gear offences.
$250 - $500:
- graduated penalties for taking excess bag limits for all species, up to three times the daily limit.
Some offences will still go to Court:
- the maximum for non-commercial offences has increased from $10,000 to $20,000
- there is a new category, "serious non-commercial offending", where the Court may forfeit fishing related property as well as impose a fine. For example, taking more than three times the daily bag limit is a serious non-commercial offence.
Examples of possible fines
- Fishing for snapper, daily limit: 9 per person per day
Person caught with:
- 14 snapper,
- Two of which undersized
- $250 for excess,
- $250 for undersized
- Fishing for snapper (9 per day) and scallops (limit 20 per day)
Person caught with:
- 21 snapper,
- Three of which are undersized;
- 26 scallops
- Two of which are undersized
- $500 for excess snapper (more than twice the limit),
- $250 for undersized snapper,
- $250 for excess scallops,
- $250 for undersized scallops
Key points about the new rules
- Only Fishery Officers will be able to issue the new infringement notices "on the spot", although some infringement notices will be issued once all the relevant details have been checked and considered
- Honorary Fishery Officers (HFOs) will take details and send an incident report to the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) office as at present). MFish will then decide whether to issue warning, issue infringement notice (as above) or prosecute (likely with repeat offenders and those who refused to co-operate with HFOs).
- Multiple infringement notices can be issued for multiple offences (ie: excess snapper undersized snapper, undersized scallops) = three offences, three infringement notices, three fines!!!).
For further information please call
National Manager, Non Commercial Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries
Telephone 07 574 5107 or 025 900 634