MFISH CRACKS DOWN ON KAIKOURA ROCK LOBSTER FISHERS
29 November 2002
The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) this week cracked down on rock lobster fishers in Kaikoura, seizing rock lobster, property and lobster pots and is considering charges against three men.
The operation, on 27, 28 November, had been planned for a month, and related to a group of amateur rock lobster fishermen allegedly operating in a commercial manner, "double dipping" - taking their full amateur entitlements twice a day - and introducing amateur caught fish into commercial outlets.
In the first phase of the operation, searches conducted at six residential and two commercial premises resulted in property being seized, including a boat, dinghy, utility vehicle and 13 crayfish pots. Over 120 rock lobster were seized either from fishers' homes, or at sea in holding pots.
Three men were interviewed in relation to these matters and charges are pending for each. One member of the group was arrested for obstructing a Fishery Officer, and is due to appear in the Kaikoura District Court today on this matter.
In a second phase of the operation, all amateur set rock lobster pots in the immediate Kaikoura area, were inspected and around 10 per cent were seized, with 26 pots out of the 250 inspected found to be illegal under fisheries legislation. Fisheries Officers found 29 pots belonging to one "amateur" fisher. More charges may be laid in relation to the pots seized, when owners are identified.
2. "The operation was a great success," said Christchurch District Compliance Manager John Slaughter. "I hope it will deter illegal amateur rock lobster fishermen in the future."
"There are enough rock lobster off the Kaikoura coast for everyone to get a good feed. Unfortunately people get greedy and choose to ignore the law in order to pursue their self-interests.
"We will monitor the Kaikoura rock lobster fishery closely over the next year, and it will be interesting to see what effect this operation has on commercially supplied fish to local restaurants and other dealers in fish.
"This is a timely reminder for amateur fishermen to be aware of fisheries legislation and to abide by the law."
Any queries in relation to fisheries matters can be directed to the local Ministry of Fisheries office, and any illegal activity can be reported through MFish's freephone number:
0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 22437).
For further information please contact
John Slaughter, District Compliance Manager, Ministry of Fisheries, Christchurch
Tel 03 358 0816