Two boats and a car seized as holiday fishers ignore the rules
3 February 2010
Two boats and a car were seized during Ministry of Fisheries operations in the Auckland area over the Anniversary Day holiday weekend.
Fishery officers mounted checkpoints at Parau (west of Titirangi) and Kawakawa Bay (near Clevedon) and conducted numerous on-water inspections of boats on both coasts in an effort to catch those flouting the fisheries rules.
The 5-day operation saw around 800 fishers checked and discovered 84 offences, three of which were serious enough to result in the seizure of boats or vehicles.
In perhaps the worst case, three people were caught in the Hauraki Gulf with 115 snapper, more than four times their combined legal limit (each fisher is legally entitled to take 9 snapper per day, providing they are all at least 27cm in length). Their vessel was seized and they are likely to face prosecution.
In another serious incident, three people were caught at checkpoint near Clevedon with more than three times their daily limit of mussels. Their car was seized and the offenders are also likely to be prosecuted.
Another checkpoint near Kawakawa found 5 people with 5 times their daily limit of mussels. They too are likely to appear in court and their $20-25,000 boat has been seized.
Ministry of Fisheries’ Greg Keys says the officers were disappointed to find so many people breaking the law.
“Most of the offences involved people taking excess mussels and undersized snapper,” he says.
“These bag and size limits are designed to protect the fisheries for the whole community and for future generations.
“Those breaking these rules are basically stealing from their fellow citizens.
“They can face heavy infringement fines and, in more serious cases, prosecution. Any property used to commit the offence, such as a vehicle or a boat or fishing and diving equipment, can also be seized.”
Greg Keys says information about daily catch and size limits is widely available in tackle shops and on the Ministry’s website: www.fish.govt.nz.
He also urged anyone who sees any suspicious or illegal fishing to phone the Ministry’s popular 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 4 76224).
“If we all work together, we can protect the resource and ensure there are good stocks of fish and shellfish for our children and grandchildren.