Greedy scallop-takers spoil northern season opening
2 September 2009
Despite pleas for scallop fishers to follow the rules, 16 people were apprehended for fisheries offences on the first day of the Northland scallop season.
Ministry of Fisheries patrols inspecting recreational fishers in Whangarei Harbour and the Bay of Islands said they were very disappointed at the level of offending.
“In total, 16 breaches were detected ranging from undersize to excess scallops,” said Ministry of Fisheries District Compliance Manager Darren Edwards. “In the worst offending in Whangarei Harbour, three people were apprehended with 106 scallops, 79 of which were well undersize. In the Bay of Islands, 11 breaches were detected during the day’s patrol, with the most serious being three people with 111 scallops, 51 above the limit.”
The minimum legal size for scallops is 100 millimetres measured across the widest part of the shell. The legal bag limit for scallops is 20 per fisher per day. In addition, divers may take an extra bag for up to two safety people on board a boat, provided they are acting as safety people for the divers.
Fines of $250 to $500 can be imposed on fishers who ignore the rules. Serious breaches can result in confiscation of diving gear, boats and vehicles.
“Stick to the size limits; they are carefully set to make sure there will be enough scallops left for the future,” said Darren Edwards. “Only take what you need; fish for a feed and not to fill the freezer. Fishery officers have the job of protecting our fish stocks for future generations; they don’t want to write tickets, but if you ignore the rules you leave them no choice.”
The scallop season closes on 31 March next year. The Ministry of Fisheries will continue to undertake targeted patrols throughout this period to make sure fishers comply with the rules.
Any suspicious activity should be reported to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476224).