Fishery officers investigating possible fish dumping incident in Eastern Bay of Plenty
15 June 2004
Opotiki based Fishery officers are following up reports of a large amount of dead fish floating on the surface just off the coast from Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.
Inquiries revealed this to be a large quantity of predominantly snapper most of which was of legal size. The dumping of snapper is an offence under fisheries legislation for which heavy penalties exist.
Fish spillage can occur as a result of an accident when retrieving catch from the water and if correctly documented this is not an offence, however if done deliberately to "high-grade" catch to attain an optimum value, it is illegal.
Such blatant waste of fish for economic gain is considered to be very serious offending within Fisheries legislation and carries a maximum fine on conviction of up to $250,000 plus the forfeiture of the vessel used in the commission of such offending.
Acting District Compliance manager Mark Scott commented that in many cases the evidence needed for a successful prosecution starts with concerned citizens who come upon dead fish while out fishing.
Mr Scott urged recreational fishers to be proactive in this situation and to observe and note down the details of any vessels they think are involved and also any other vessels operating in the area.
"It is important to photograph the scene - fish and vessels - and to collect as many fish as possible and to communicate this information to a fishery officer as soon as possible."
Where possible, notification should be made by cell phone from on the water as the earlier the notification is made the more likely it is that an offender can be identified.
People providing information can be assured that this contact is always treated in the strictest of confidence
Mr Scott says inquiries are continuing.
For more information please contact:
Ministry of Fisheries
Tel. 07 574 5100