Good and not so good in Auckland fisheries
9 March 2011
Fishery Officers in the Auckland area have been active in monitoring recreational and commercial activity throughout the district over the summer period.
Greg Keys, Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager, says he has been impressed by the level of compliance with the rules and regulations and the attitude of most recreational and commercial fishers.
“However, unfortunately there have been a number of notable exceptions,” Mr Keys said. “For example, as a result of 0800 4 POACHER line information, an inspection was carried out at a café in the northern part of what was then the Rodney District. It was established that the owners had, on multiple occasions, illegally acquired and illegally purchased snapper to be sold at their premises.
“Snapper had been caught through the use of the owners’ recreational boat. Some of the catch was taken to the cafe to be sold. Also, a business arrangement was established with co-offenders who operated a commercial venture in close proximity to the café. The co-offenders provided recreationally caught fish to be sold in the café as well.”
The recreational boat, worth $25,000, and a commercial vessel valued at about $50,000 were seized by the Crown. Court proceedings in this case are yet to be heard.
Mr Keys went on to describe another example of illegal activity over the summer. “During a Ministry checkpoint at Kawakawa Bay a vehicle towing a recreational boat was inspected. Five people had been fishing. Fishery Officers located two bins containing 42 snapper, all of legal size.
“The skipper of the boat said that was the total catch for the day. Fishery Officers continued their inspection. More than 100 additional snapper were found secreted in various parts of the boat.
“The offenders admitted catching snapper, saying they didn’t count what they had caught but they only kept the legal-sized snapper. Several of the offenders admitted knowing the rules relating to the daily allowable catch for snapper. This case file is currently being reviewed.”
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley applauded the good behaviour of most fishers around Auckland and said he totally supported the Ministry’s strong stance against the fish thieves. “I’m 100 percent behind the Ministry’s compliance efforts,” Mr Heatley said. “We won’t tolerate illegal activity – these people are stealing from all of us including future generations.”
During December and January, 2361 recreational fishers in Auckland were contacted face to face by the Ministry. Of these, volunteer Honorary Fishery Officers conducted 2017 inspections or educational contacts and full-time Fishery Officers undertook the remaining 614 recreational inspections.
In the commercial sector, Fishery Officers conducted 88 inspections of commercial vessels, retail premises, restaurants, fish and chip shops and cafes.
Greg Keys said that if all New Zealanders work together as “4 million guardians”, we can protect our fisheries resources and make sure there are good stocks of fish and shellfish for our children and grandchildren.
“I particularly acknowledge our Honorary Fishery Officers – their work is a real testament to their dedication to New Zealand’s marine resources.”
Members of the public who see any suspicious or illegal fishing are encouraged to call the Ministry's popular 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 476 224).
He kaitiaki tätou katoa
We are all guardians