Recreational Fishers Reminded of New Rules for Summer
21 October 2009
With the traditional recreational season starting at Labour Weekend, fishers need to be aware of new rules that came into effect on 1 October this year. The new rules relate to paua and rock lobster (crayfish).
The daily quota of paua is 10 per person and the minimum size limit is 125 millimetres. The new rule says the number of paua that an individual can have in their possession on any given day has been reduced.
An amendment to the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 has led to a new “accumulation” limit of 20 paua - or the equivalent meat weight of paua (2.5 kilograms) - that anyone can keep on any day.
“This change isn’t intended to penalise law abiding fishers, but is necessary to combat the fishing activity of greedy individuals who store large quantities of illegally taken paua in their freezers,” said Ray McKay, Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager for the Hawke’s Bay / Wairarapa area. ‘When confronted by Fishery Officers, these people would simply claim that the paua had been accumulated over time.”
Mr McKay said the new accumulation limits would make it more difficult for black market paua to be stored while awaiting sale, and would essentially remove the previous defence used when in possession of large quantities of paua.
“For the legitimate recreational fisher, the new rule means they can be in possession of two days’ legal catch of paua, provided they can show that no more than 10 had been taken per day,” Mr McKay said. “It is therefore in the interests of the individual to make sure their catches are appropriately labelled when there are more than 10 paua.”
The other notable change to the Amateur Fishing Regulations is the permission for recreational fishers to use hand-operated lassoes to take rock lobster (crayfish).
This method was introduced when research showed that if correctly used, this type of device caused fewer injuries to rock lobster than the current hand-gathering method, which was already an approved catching method.
Spring loaded lassoes are still prohibited because of their potential to puncture, penetrate, cut or otherwise damage the tail or body of the fish.
“Fishery Officers in the Ministry’s Napier Office are only too happy to provide information on fishing rules and appropriate practices,” Ray McKay said. Alternatively, this information can be obtained by visiting www.fish.govt.nz.
“Fishery Officers, including Honorary Fishery Officers, our voluntary network, will be patrolling local beaches over Labour Weekend. Fishers are reminded of their obligation to measure their catch as soon as practicable after taking,” Mr McKay said.
Measuring fish while diving reduces the likelihood of undersized fish being taken, ensures that daily quotas are not exceeded, and reduces potential damage to fish stock through unnecessary harvest. This is particularly relevant when gathering paua.
“Most recreational offending results from individuals leaving the water with unmeasured catch well in excess of their daily quota. When they’re stopped by Fishery Officers, they claim that they were going back to their vehicle to measure the fish,” Ray McKay said.
“Voluntary compliance with this rule has the potential to reduce the rate of recreational offending at Hawke’s Bay beaches considerably, and means Field Operations staff can spend more time targeting serious fisheries offending.”
Suspicious activity on or around our beaches, including large hauls of paua and rock lobster being caught in unusual ways, should be reported to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).