Alleged rock lobster poachers face prosecution
22 January 2010
Two men in Wairarapa who allegedly attempted to conceal approximately 60 rock lobster (crayfish) last week now also face prosecution for excess and undersize paua.
Wairarapa Fishery Officers spoke to the two men at the boat launching area at Te Awaiti known as Sandy Bay. While conducting an inspection of their vessel, a large number of illegal rock lobster were located.
Fishery Officer Tony McKenna said the fishers had tried to conceal the rock lobster in two areas of the boat, probably separating the catch between them.
Approximately 60 rock lobster were recovered, most of which were undersize. Some were also recovered from nets on board the boat.
One of the men, who was already known to Fishery Officers, had been spoken too only the day before, and was given advice on fishing rules regarding gear use.
The two men are also likely to face charges in relation to the gear they were using to catch their fish. When removed from the boat, one set net was found to be three tied together, totalling about 90 metres in length. The maximum length of a fishing net is 60 metres. Only one set net is allowed on board a boat at any time.
A fourth net was located, together with nine fishing rods and clipboards of groper hooks, indicating that the fishers were out to catch as much fish as possible regardless of the limits.
The boat, together with its gear and illegal catch, was seized.
Both men will face charges in the Masterton District Court in relation to excess and undersize fish, and using illegal gear.
“This is particularly disappointing,” said Ray McKay, Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa Field Operations Manager for the Ministry of Fisheries. “Despite all the publicity about illegal fishing activity and our ongoing efforts to inform the public about fishing rules, especially through our Every Fish Counts summer awareness campaign, a few fishers still choose to breach the laws. If you see anything suspicious, please call 0800 4 POACHER.”
Fishers may take six rock lobster per day. The minimum size for a male rock lobster is 54 millimetres and 60 millimetres for a female rock lobster.
For the latest recreational fishing rules, see www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/Recreational/default.htm
For Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley’s release on the summer awareness campaign, ‘Every Fish Counts’, see
Every Fish Counts. He kaitiaki tätou katoa