Good behaviour in Otago fisheries – with exceptions
9 March 2011
Fishery Officers from Dunedin have been active in monitoring recreational fishing activity around the Otago coastline over the summer period.
Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Murray Pridham said generally, Fishery Officers have been happy with the level of compliance with fisheries regulations.
“During December and January 1307 recreational fishers were inspected,” Mr Pridham said. “Of these, 30 offences were detected resulting in nine infringement notices and 17 warnings were issued. A further incident relating to three people attempting to sell paua is currently under review and is likely to result in prosecution.”
The majority of offences relate to the taking and possession of paua. The most significant of these, where infringement notices were issued, was with a group of four who were apprehended with 45 undersize paua at Kakanui in North Otago. The smallest of the paua was 55 millimetres in length. The minimum legal size for ordinary paua is 125 millimetres.
“It is disappointing that people are continuing to take undersize paua even though they have measuring devices available,” Mr Pridham said.
“It seems that many people are not prepared to leave the beach empty handed, which is extremely short sighted of them. If paua taken are less than the minimum legal size then it reduces the chance of the shellfish breeding successfully and threatens the sustainability of the fishery.”
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley applauded the majority of Otago recreational fishers who follow the rules and act responsibly. However, he said he was sickened by the few who continue to flout the rules. “I am 100 percent behind the Ministry’s efforts to stop the fish thieves. We need to protect our paua stocks in particular. These people are stealing from all New Zealanders, including future generations.”
Fishery Officers have also seized a number of set nets recently. Fishers are reminded that between Clarence Point and Slope Point on the east coast of the South Island, using a set net for fishing within four nautical miles of the coastline is prohibited.
“This regulation was introduced as a measure to protect the Hector’s dolphin population,” Mr Pridham said. “Dolphins can get entangled in the fine nylon nets and drown.”
The Ministry of Fisheries encourages members of the public to report any suspicious activity to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).
He kaitiaki tätou katoa
We are all guardians