Isolation didn’t stop fisheries apprehension
4 August 2011
A south Westland recreational fisher found to his cost that isolation was no barrier to his apprehension and conviction for breaking fishing rules, the Ministry of Fisheries reported today.
On 23 March, Shaun Philip Richardson and two friends went fishing from the Maitai River, Bruce Bay, an hour north of Haast, in Richardson’s recreational boat. The other two line fished while Richardson dived for paua with scuba gear and checked his cray pots.
The boat was put on a boat trailer and drawn along the track beside the river. The vehicle and boat were stopped by Fishery Officers.
The officers found 14 rock lobsters in a bag and another eight were concealed under clothing. Two bags with 45 shucked paua in an immeasurable state were found in the anchor. Scuba gear was also discovered on the boat.
Richardson had more than three times the daily limit of rock lobster and paua. The limit for rock lobster is six per person and for paua 10.
Pete Hyde, Ministry of Fisheries Field Operations Manager for Canterbury and Westland, said paua must be landed in a state so its shell can be measured to make sure size limits are adhered to.
“Scuba gear cannot be used for taking paua and its possession with paua is prohibited,” Mr Hyde added.
On 3 August the District Court at Whataroa sentenced Richardson, a 41-year-old machine operator, to 200 hours’ community service for his offending. His boat and trailer had been seized.
Peter Hyde said this case showed Fishery Officers wouldn’t let isolation be an obstacle to carrying out their duties effectively.
“No fish thief anywhere is safe from apprehension and prosecution,” he said. “Fishery Officers and Honorary Fishery Officers are out and about right around our long coastline. They can’t do it all on their own though. I strongly encourage members of the public to call 0800 4 POACHER if they see anything suspicious or illegal in our fisheries - anytime, anywhere.”