Ministry urges fishers to respect shellfish limits
8 February 2010
The Ministry of Fisheries is urging shellfish gatherers to learn the rules before they go fishing and to keep to those rules.
Field Operations Manager Greg Keys says the bag and size limits for shellfish are there to protect the resource for now and into the future.
“We know that the vast majority of fishers honour the size and bag limits and understand why they are in place,” he says.
“However, it appears that a small minority of those who gather shellfish do not respect these limits.
“Instead, they greedily plunder the shellfish beds, selfishly taking far more than their fair share.
“This can have a devastating effect on shellfish beds and can rob other members of the community of their right to collect a legal limit.”
Mr Keys says several Auckland area beaches have already had to be closed because of over-fishing.
“These once productive beds are now barren and the local communities have lost a valuable source of fresh seafood.”
Mr Keys says the Ministry is working very hard to protect the area’s existing shellfish beds.
“Those setting out to break the law should realise that most of their fellow gatherers will not condone their plundering of the shellfish beds.
“We can’t do it all on our own, I urge anyone who sees any suspicious or illegal fishing to phone the 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 4 76224) as soon as they can. This gives us the best possible chance of catching the offenders in the act and protecting the resource.”
Those caught with excess or undersized shellfish can face Infringement Notices of $250 or $500. In more serious cases, they can face prosecution, fines of up to $250,000 and forfeiture of any equipment (including vehicles and vessels) used to commit the offence.