Fishery officers carry out more than 27,000 inspections during 2008
13 January 2009
Fishery officers have been congratulated for their dedication and hard work during 2008 which has proved to be a real deterrent to fishers breaking fisheries rules. During 2008 fishery officers carried out around 25,000 recreational fisher inspections. They also inspected approximately 2,000 commercial fishers, licensed fish receivers and commercial dealers.
Millions of dollars worth of boats, vehicles and other fishing gear was seized by fishery officers from greedy recreational fishers, organised fish thieves and commercial fishers caught breaking the law.
“We are all very grateful for the hard work and dedication to our wonderful marine resource shown by fishery officers, honorary fishery officers and inspectors,” said Wayne McNee, Chief Executive, Ministry of Fisheries.
“Education is also having a big impact. Our fishery officers are visiting schools, community groups and boat shows to talk about the importance of sticking to the rules. This has all resulted in increased support for our officers and increased levels of voluntary compliance.”
Andrew Coleman, National Compliance Manager, Ministry of Fisheries said poaching continues to be one of MFish’s biggest targets. “Organised gangs stealing paua and crayfish are of major concern. These species are very accessible to the public, you don’t even need a boat to catch them and they fetch high prices on the black market,” he said.
“But the success of our fisheries compliance operations has shown that anyone involved in illegal fishing will be caught and severely punished,” he said.
“There will be no let up in the pressure on these fish thieves; we are determined to stamp them out. When we catch up with them they can expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mr Coleman said the public has been and will continue to be informed of the fishing rules this summer. MFish’s ‘Size Does Matter’ summer awareness campaign is ongoing and fishery officers and honorary fishery officers have been on duty throughout the holiday period.
“The public can access all fishing rules by visiting fish.govt.nz or by calling or visiting their local MFish office. Fishery officers and honorary fishery officers will also be out talking to fishers and making sure they know the rules. They will also be conducting inspections of catch and, if necessary, may give infringement notices to those who have broken the rules.”
Mr Coleman said people going out fishing over the summer period should report fish thieves, or any suspicious fishing activity, by calling 0800 4 POACHER.
“They are stealing from you and from future generations; know the rules before you go; consult the area regulations for the location where you will be fishing; only take what you need; fish for a feed and not to fill the freezer.”