Fishery Officers seize $100,000 of boats in six days
29 October 2010
Fishery Officers in the Greater Auckland area are concerned at the high level of serious offending they have encountered in the past few days.
That offending has already resulted in the seizure of four boats, worth over $100,000, the likely prosecution of at least six fishers and the issuing of dozens of infringement notices.
“It is very disappointing,” says Ministry of Fisheries Auckland Field Operations Manager Greg Keys. “This is the first spell of good weather in months and already we are encountering a ridiculous level of serious offending.”
In one of the worst cases, Fishery Officers stopped two men near Maraetai and discovered that they had 119 snapper on board their 4.5-metre boat.
“The daily limit for snapper in this area, as everyone knows, is just nine per person,” says Mr Keys. “This pair had taken more than three times that amount.
“It is very hard to believe that this many fish were taken just for personal use.”
The men’s boat and fishing equipment have been seized and they are likely to face prosecution.
At nearby Kawakawa Bay, another man was caught with 300 mussels. The legal limit is 50 per day, so he was more six times over this. His boat has also been seized and he, too, is likely face prosecution.
Mr Keys says that while the high level of serious offending is a concern, it was good to see so many fishers and shellfish gatherers keeping to the rules.
“We know the vast majority of fishers do respect the bag and size limits and want to see the fishery remain in a healthy state,” he said. “If we all work together, we can protect our fishing resources for now and into the future.”
This summer, the Ministry of Fisheries is running a “4 Million Guardians” campaign to raise awareness of fisheries rules and encourage members of the public to help protect the fishery.
“We are all guardians of our precious fisheries resources,” says Mr Keys. “It is very important to remember this as we enjoy our favourite fishing spots this summer, wherever we are.”
Mr Keys urged fishers to find out about the rules before they go, especially the numbers and sizes of fish they can take.
“Once you’re up to speed yourself, tell your children/whanau as well.
And if you see any illegal fishing activity, please ring the Ministry’s popular 0800 4 POACHER number - 0800 476 224.