The Ministry of Fisheries stands by its stick-on rulers
7 May 2007
The Ministry of Fisheries will stand by its 180,000 fish-measuring rulers that help fishers to comply with the recreational size limits, said non-commercial liaison manager Neville Buckley.
Mr Buckley said 180,000 stick-on rulers had been issued in the past two years and there had been two recorded and two suspected cases of those stickers shrinking in that time.
The stick-on rulers have been designed to be stuck to a flat surface – a boat, a fish bin, etc, and where rulers have been used in this way there has been no known shrinkage.
“The rulers are made to be fisher-friendly and under normal operating conditions the rulers are accurate. This applies to over 99 percent of known cases. However, it has come to our attention that under severe and abnormal operating conditions some rulers may shrink.
“We are running tests under a range of conditions to determine how this might happen, but current indications are that this may apply to a small portion of very rare situations.
“Until we learn more from these tests we will not be issuing any more rulers but we definitely stand behind the rulers that are out there. In the meantime fishers can check that any measures they use are accurate.”
To help detect any future problems, fisheries officers and honorary fisheries officers will be paying particular attention to any undersized fish claimed to have been measured against MFish issued rulers and will check the fish against the rulers in question. It is important that such claims are investigated at the time of inspection to verify the legitimacy of the claim.
Mr Buckley said the stick on ruler is just one of the many tools used to encourage voluntary compliance with fishing regulations.
“The vast majority of fishers comply with fisheries rules and size limits and are well aware when a fish is obviously undersize.”
It’s important to remember what these rulers are designed for, Mr Buckley said. “And that is to help fishers keep to the size limits, which is part of making sure there will be plenty of fish in the sea for future generations to enjoy.”