Ignoring rules costs Whangamata crayfish gatherers
21 January 2010
Failure to follow the rules about crayfish gathering may cost a number of Whangamata fishers a $250 infringement fine.
Brendon Mikkelsen, Ministry of Fisheries’ Field Operations Manager for the Waikato/ Bay Of Plenty/ Coromandel says although the most recent fishery patrol targeted those operating from Whangamata, similar problems have been found in other parts of the Coromandel and in the Bay of Plenty previously.
In the Ministry’s most recent sea patrol, fishery officers seized 27 craypots off the coast of Whangamata. These were pots or surface buoys that were not correctly marked or the pots did not have proper escape gaps. In some cases, gatherers also had more than the three pots they were each allowed.
Brendon Mikkelsen says those caught breaking the rules may face Infringement Notices of $250. In more serious incidents fishers may face the permanent confiscation of their pots through the court process.
The rules are there for a reason: to protect the local cray fishery from over-fishing and ensures continued sustainability.
Brendon Mikkelsen says the Ministry will continue to run regular patrols in the area and will likely continue to seize the pots of those who do not comply with the rules.
“The rules around fishing for crayfish are in our recreational fishing rules brochure, available in most fishing tackle shops, where crayfish pots are sold and on the Ministry website: www.fish.govt.nz.”
“Fishery Officers urge anyone who sees illegal fishing activity to ring the Ministry’s popular 0800 4 Poacher number: (0800 4 76224).
“We all need to work together to protect our fishery resources for now and into the future.”