Vehicle, boat seized after Thames man caught selling fish in Auckland
26 August 2011
A 35-year-old Thames man who was caught after selling fish on the streets of Auckland has had his boat and vehicle seized by Fishery Officers.
Fishery Officers seized the man’s 4.8-metre fibreglass boat, Toyota Corolla and several fishing rods when they executed a search of the man’s coastal Thames property early on Thursday morning.
Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager Brendon Mikkelsen says members of the public had contacted the officers after seeing the man selling snapper on the side of a main road in Weymouth.
“As a result of that information, the Ministry identified the man and was able to observe him actively fishing off the Thames coast,” Mr Mikkelsen said.
“Only licensed commercial fishers are allowed to catch fish for sale. It is a serious offence under the Fisheries Act 1996 for non-commercial fishers such as this man to sell any fish or shellfish that they catch.”
Brendon Mikkelsen says the man is likely to be prosecuted under the Act and, if found guilty, could face fines of up to $250,000 and forfeiture of any property he used to commit the offences; in this case, his boat, vehicle and fishing equipment.
“While it is disappointing to see someone blatantly breaking the law like this, it is gratifying that members of the public contacted us to report it,” he said.
“New Zealand has a very long and often quite remote coastline and Fishery Officers obviously cannot be everywhere at once. We therefore rely on our ‘four million guardians’ to help us detect illegal activity such as this and that is exactly what happened in this case.”
Brendon Mikkelsen urged members of the public who see others breaking the rules to continue to use the Ministry’s 0800 4 POACHER line (0800 476 224).
“If we all work together we can stamp out this sort of poaching and ensure a sustainable fishery for all of us for the future,” he said.