Enforcement underpins fisheries sustainability
11 November 2010
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley, has welcomed the latest litigation report from the Ministry which shows an increase in the number of people and companies prosecuted for fisheries related offences.
Mr Heatley says effective enforcement is key to ensuring the sustainability of our fisheries. He has applauded the efforts of the more than 150 warranted
officers and more than 200 honorary fisheries officers whose efforts led to nearly 400 criminal prosecutions being undertaken between August 2009 and August 2010.
“Of this figure around 280 offences related to recreational fishers, 74 related to poaching/black market offences, 38 to inshore commercial offences and a further 3 to deepwater commercial offences,” says Mr Heatley.
In the year to August, 11 offenders were sentenced to imprisonment, with sentences ranging from seven to 36 months. Seven offenders were sentenced to community detention or supervision ranging from two to nine months, and 16 offenders were sentenced to home detention for between two and 12 months.
Two hundred and fifty-two prosecutions resulted in a fine and 94 in sentences of community work. One hundred and twenty one prosecutions involved forfeiture of boats, vehicles or equipment with a combined value of well over $10 million.*
The Ministry also issued 1,968 infringement notices for less serious offences, with 1,564 being served on recreational fishers and 404 on commercial fishers. The fines for these infringements ranged from $250 to $750.
“Our fisheries are one of our nation’s most valuable assets and it is important that everyone uses them responsibly. I am pleased to say the vast majority of fishers value the resource and do comply with the rules. However the Ministry of Fisheries will soon be deploying a record number of honorary fisheries officers to deal with those who don’t, with plans to engage a total of 225 officers by June 2011.
“This has been a huge overall effort by many people, I congratulate the Ministry and strongly encourage members of the public to work with them because we are all guardians of our fisheries,” said Mr Heatley.
Suspicious and illegal activity should be reported to the Ministry of Fisheries on 0800 4 POACHER – 0800 476 224.