Minister getting anti-poaching message out for summer
18 December 2006
As the summer holiday period begins, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has used the opportunity to remind New Zealanders about the Poaching is Theft campaign.
Mr Anderton is reminding poachers that fisheries officers will be active over the summer period to ensure no one takes more than their limit.
“Everyone is entitled to their fair share of these resources and everyone can play their part to ensure the sustainability of New Zealand’s valuable fisheries. Thieves who line their own pockets with a public resource are decreasing the quality of legitimate users catch,” Mr Anderton said.
In October, Mr Anderton, launched the “Poaching is Theft’ joint initiative between the seafood industry, government and recreational fishers, which aims to raise public awareness about the impact of poaching and fish theft of paua and rock lobster.
“By using the new on the new 0800 4 Poacher number (0800 476 224) to contact MFish, everyone can help with this problem.”
The 'Poaching is Theft' initiative aims to reduce this theft of millions of dollars of illegal fish that is taken from New Zealand’s coastlines every year.
“By complying with the bag and size limits for paua and rock lobster, and reporting suspicious activity, all New Zealanders can help to protect the fisheries for future generations. We want all New Zealanders to have access to a quality catch,” Jim Anderton said.
Those fishing during the summer holidays are reminded to stay within size limits and daily bag limits as well as making sure any fishing gear used meets the legal requirements. Information on recreational fishing restrictions can be found on the Ministry of Fisheries web site www.fish.govt.nz or phone 0800 4 RULES. You need to find out your legal obligations before you go fishing.
How do you help stop fish theft?
If you see someone:
- taking over their daily limit
- taking undersized fish
- undertaking suspicious activity
- offering you cheap paua or rock lobster (crayfish), especially if its for cash
Report them: Call 0800 4 POACHER - remember: Poaching is Theft
The Ministry of Fisheries will use all information reported. They may have a compliance officer on hand who can respond immediately or the information will be added to their file for the area. This information will be used to plan operations that will net the poachers.
Every call will be attended to and acted upon and any information provided will remain confidential and can be supplied anonymously.
In the event of a prosecution, members of the community are being encouraged to fill in a Victim Impact Statement – because it is everyday New Zealanders who are the victims of this crime.
What happens if a ‘couple extra’ or undersize paua or crays are taken?
With over 800,000 recreational fishers in New Zealand, if everyone takes a ‘few more’ than allowed, the numbers soon add up. The limits have been set carefully to ensure that the maximum number can be taken without harming the resource – even one or two more could have an effect on the resource.
If undersized paua or rock lobster are taken, they cannot complete the breeding cycle. By taking or buying undersized fish the resource is being robbed of babies and young mothers. By sticking to the rules and taking a stand against those that are abusing the system everyone can help to protect these resources for the future.