Every Fish Counts in Wairarapa this summer
7 January 2010
With the traditional recreational fishing season now well under way in the Wairarapa, the Ministry of Fisheries wants to ensure that fishers are aware of a couple of new rules that came into effect last year.
While the daily bag limit of 10 paua per person and the minimum size limit of 125 millimetres remains the same as before, the number of paua that an individual can have in their possession on any given day has been reduced.
An amendment to the Fisheries (Amateur Fishing) Regulations 1986 resulted in a new “accumulation” limit of 20 paua or the equivalent meat weight of paua (2.5 kilograms) that a recreational fisher can have on any day.
“This change was not intended to penalise law abiding fishers, but was necessary to combat the fishing activity of greedy individuals who stored large quantities of illegally taken paua in their freezers,” said Ray McKay, Field Operations Manager for the Hawke’s Bay / Wairarapa area. “When confronted by Fishery Officers they would claim that the paua had been accumulated over time.”
Mr McKay said the new accumulation limit would make it more difficult for black market paua to be stored while awaiting sale and would essentially remove the previous defence for the possession of large quantities of paua.
The new rule means recreational fishers can be in possession of two days’ legitimate catch of paua, provided they can show that no more than 10 had been taken per day. Mr McKay said it was therefore worthwhile to ensure that catches are appropriately labelled.
The other notable change to the Amateur Fishing Regulations is the ability to use hand operated lassoes to take rock lobster.
“This method has been introduced after research had shown that if correctly used, this type of device causes fewer injuries to rock lobster than the current hand gathering method which was already an approved technique,” Mr McKay said.
Spring-loaded lassoes are still prohibited because of their potential to puncture, penetrate, cut or otherwise damage the tail or body of the fish.
“Fishery Officers are only too happy to provide information on fishing rules and this information can also be obtained by visiting the Ministry’s website at www.fish.govt.nz,” Mr McKay said.
Fishery Officers, including the district’s Honorary network, will be patrolling local beaches and other popular fishing spots throughout the summer.
“Fishers are reminded of their obligation to measure their catch as soon as practicable,” Mr McKay said. “Measuring while diving reduces the likelihood of undersize fish being taken, ensures that daily bag limits aren’t exceeded and reduces potential damage to fish stock through unnecessary catching. This is particularly relevant when gathering paua.”
Mr McKay said most recreational offending results from individuals leaving the water with unmeasured catch, well in excess of their daily bag limit, and when stopped by Fishery Officers claiming that they were going back to their vehicle to measure their fish.
“Voluntary compliance with this rule alone could reduce the rate of recreational offending at in the Wairarapa considerably and means Fishery Officers staff can spend more time targeting serious fisheries offending.”