Busy summer fishing season in Wellington, Taranaki
9 March 2011
Fishery Officers and a number of supporting Honorary Fishery Officers have been out and about over the traditional summer period actively patrolling the beaches and coastlines of the Wellington and Taranaki region.
They have been making sure that the public are adhering to the national and local rules while fishing as well as educating the public and being visible to deter any unlawful activity.
Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Mike Green said this summer has been very busy for both Wellington and Taranaki.
“Wellington in particular has been blessed with better than normal summer weather that has seen more people out and about enjoying their favourite activity,” Mr Green said. “While the majority of fishers comply with the regulations, there are always those who think they can get away with it or that the regulations don’t apply to them.
During December 2010 and January 2011 hundreds of inspections were conducted of both recreational and commercial fishers in Wellington and Taranaki. From these inspections, 145 offences were detected resulting in 23 prosecutions, 67 infringement notices and 55 warnings.
“Unfortunately,” Mr Green said, “we have seen a number of cases of blatant theft, with groups and individuals plundering the coast taking many hundreds of paua. Most of these paua were undersize. One particularly bad example was three people found in possession of over 1275 paua.”
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley said he was sickened that some people continue to flout the rules. “I am 100 percent behind the Ministry’s efforts to stop the fish thieves,” he said. “We need to protect our paua stocks. These people are stealing from all New Zealanders, including future generations, and they must be nailed to the fence.”
As a result of these offences, a number of vehicles and some dive gear have been seized, which could be forfeit to the Crown upon conviction.
Penalties for breaches of fisheries regulations range from $250 to $250,000 and can include forfeiture of property. For more serious offences, convicted offenders can be liable to terms of imprisonment of up to five years.
Fishery Officers will continue to be out on our beaches throughout the remainder of this summer but they can’t be everywhere.
Members of the public are reminded to report any suspicious activity to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).
He kaitiaki tätou katoa
We are all guardians