Public fisheries vigilance paying off
22 January 2010
The Ministry of Fisheries today revealed data backing up its view that the excellent public response to its efforts to preserve New Zealand’s fisheries was having the desired effect.
The number of educational promotional contacts by Fishery Officers for the 2009 calendar year was up 20 percent over 2008, at 4,771 throughout the country.
“The high level of contact with the public is helping create a great deal of awareness of the need for recreational fishers to think about their responsibilities for the ecosystem and future generations,” said Andrew Coleman, the Ministry’s Deputy Chief Executive Field Operations. “We have been seeing good behaviour by most fishers – and also hearing outrage all round the country against the fish thieves, especially over the summer. This has been very heartening and has helped us enormously.”
Marked increases in educational contacts have been seen in Otago (45 percent over 2008, a total of 279), Auckland (36 percent, 1726), Northland (33 percent, 418), Nelson/Marlborough (33 percent,139), Hawke’s Bay (27 percent, 405) and Poverty Bay (13 percent, 401).
An increase in recreational inspections of 1,000 throughout the country (27, 520 compared with 26, 505 in 2008) has shown a compliance rate of 95 percent.
“This is a good rate and we’re always working on the other 5 percent, a few of whom are the thieves we must all work together to stop,” Mr Coleman said. “The vigilance people have been showing recently indicates how well the public have been picking up the preservation messages and putting them into practice.”
Notably large inspection increases were recorded in Canterbury (36 percent over 2008, a total of 5,345), Otago (20 percent, 1,139) and Southland (20 percent, 934).
“There are now more Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers out and about throughout the country helping and supporting the 4 million guardians of our fisheries,” said Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley. “The government is making sure this trend continues. I applaud Fishery Officers for their work but they can’t do it all on their own – they rely on the public to keep their eyes open to suspicious behaviour and I encourage you to call 0800 4 POACHER any time.”
For the latest recreational fishing rules, see www.fish.govt.nz/en-nz/Recreational/default.htm
For Minister Heatley’s release on the summer awareness campaign, ‘Every Fish Counts’, see