Fisheries Compliance Round Up for Nov / Dec 23

Fishers nabbed for too much snapper, undersize and excess pāua and fishing when banned

Taking too much snapper, undersize and excess pāua, along with fishing when banned has landed some fishers with fines and community work.

A 53-year-old Pukekohe man was fined $3,000 and ordered to do 100 hours community work for having nearly seven times the daily limit for snapper.

The man had been fishing near Pakihi Island in the Hauraki Gulf in June 2023. When he was approached by a Fisheries New Zealand Fishery Officer and an Honorary Fishery Officer at the Kawakawa Bay Boat Club to do a catch inspection, he reacted by emptying a bin of caught fish into the water. The Fishery Officers retrieved most of the floating fish from the water. He was found with 48 snapper and 35 of these fish were undersize. The daily legal limit per person for snapper in Hauraki Gulf is seven with a minimum length of 30 cm.

Part of the $500 fine was for obstructing the Fishery Officers in their work by dumping the caught fish into the sea.

“The rules are there for a reason – to protect our shared fishing resources to ensure we have sustainable fisheries into the future,” says Fisheries New Zealand Director of Fisheries Compliance, Steve Ham.

A 31-year-old Blenheim man was fined $1,000 for being in possession of 57 pāua he gathered near Glasgow Island in the Marlborough Sounds. The man had his catch inspected on 2 October 2021 by a Fishery Officer. The daily limit for ordinary pāua was 5 per person with a minimum size of 125mm. The man’s 38-year-old dive buddy was also fined $1000 during a separate court hearing.

A 40-year-old Northland man was ordered to do 100 hours community work for fishing while banned from fishing when he was sentenced in the Kaikohe District Court.

The man’s three-year prohibition from fishing was not due to end until August 2024. He was observed by Fishery Officers in January this year (2023) at Kawerua – a West Coast beach south of Hokianga, with friends. The man hid a bag of 40 pāua behind a rock when he spotted Fishery Officers on the beach.

Fishery Officers retrieved the bag which were all undersize – less than 125mm. The daily limit for people legally able to harvest pāua is 10.

And a 47-year-old North Otago man was fined $1500 in the Oamaru District Court for having 54 shucked pāua he took from the Waianakarua river mouth in May this year (2023). The man was stopped by Fishery Officers in Oamaru. Officers found 35 of the shucked pāua were from shells that were less than the daily minimum size of 125mm.

The daily limit per person for pāua is 10.

“If you’re unsure of the fishing rules in the area you plan to fish – get the most up to date fishing rules by downloading the free NZ Fishing Rules mobile app. It will also work if you’re fishing in an area with limited mobile coverage,” says Steve Ham.

Fisheries New Zealand encourages fishing industry operators and non-commercial fishers to report any suspected illegal activity through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ 0800 4 POACHER line (0800 47 62 24).

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