Fisheries poacher hotline gets results
17 February 2010
The Ministry of Fisheries today released more information backing up its belief that the excellent public response to its efforts to preserve New Zealand’s fisheries was having the desired effect.
The 0800 4 POACHER hotline is being used increasingly by responsible members of the public who see illegal or suspicious activity on our beaches and other favourite fishing spots.
“The widely publicised apprehension of Taranaki paua thieves just after New Year was one example of where criminal activity was stopped in its tracks as a direct result of a call by a member of the public to 0800 4 POACHER,” said Andrew Coleman, the Ministry’s Deputy Chief Executive Field Operations. “This sort of vigilance is a tremendous help to our Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers who are working hard to inform the public and catch the thieves this summer.”
On 15 December last year the Ministry of Fisheries launched its summer awareness campaign, “Every Fish Counts”. Since then, nearly 1,600 calls had been received on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224), which reflects a 15 percent increase on the previous year. Comparing figures for January of the last three years, this clearly shows the numbers of calls made have more than doubled, hitting almost 1,000 for the first time last month.
“This is excellent and it’s definitely showing results,” Mr Coleman said. “The summer campaign and the amount of media coverage we’re getting is leading to the emergence of those we could call Educated Informants. These are people who are serious about their responsibilities for the ecosystem and future generations, and who are making sure they know the fisheries rules. Armed with this knowledge they don’t hesitate to come back to us time and again reporting suspicious behaviour. I applaud their efforts and the more of these guardians we have the better.”
More inspections and educational promotional contacts by Ministry staff - on top of increased public vigilance - is closing the net on fisheries thieves.
“Fishery Officers can’t do it all on their own,” Andrew Coleman said. “They rely on the public to keep their eyes open and I encourage you to call 0800 4 POACHER any time.”
For the latest recreational fishing rules, see www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/Recreational/default.htm
For the most recent release in this series, see www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/Press/Press+Releases+2010/January10/Public+fisheries+vigilance+paying+off.htm
Every Fish Counts. He kaitiaki tätou katoa