Mixed bag of shellfish offences keep fishery officers busy

Press Release – Ministry For Primary Industries

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Fishery Officers have been kept busy in the Coromandel after catching a number of people taking more than their legal limit of shellfish recently.1 November 2012

Mixed bag of shellfish offences keep fishery officers busy in the Coromandel

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Fishery Officers have been kept busy in the Coromandel after catching a number of people taking more than their legal limit of shellfish recently.

In three separate prosecutions by MPI, three men were convicted for taking and possessing excess and undersize shellfish.

Whitianga resident Kenneth Blackmore was found guilty for taking and possessing 69 undersize paua from the Otama Beach area. He was fined a total of $1,250 and had his dive gear forfeited to the Crown.

South Auckland resident Melvin Henry was found guilty for taking and possessing 43 undersize paua from the Sailors Grave area. He was fined a total of $1,250 and had his gear used in the offending forfeited.

Tairua resident David Short pleaded guilty to taking 118 green lipped mussels from the Otama Beach Reserve. He was fined $450 plus court costs and had his dive gear forfeited.

MPI District Compliance Manager BOP/Waikato/Coromandel, Brendon Mikkelsen says daily limits and size restrictions are important tools in sustaining valuable shell fish stocks.

“The key is that fishers take individual responsibility for abiding by daily limits and size restrictions, and play their part voluntarily to help sustain the fishery they gather from,” says Mr Mikkelsen.

“These matters that have been dealt with by the court should be a sobering reminder to those who disregard the sustainability of the fishery and flout the limits.”

Another recent case involved Thames residents Daniel Benson and David Swinton who both pleaded not guilty to infringement offence notices they had been issued after fishery officers found them in possession of 138 green-lipped mussels between them at the Waiomu Reserve, Thames Coast.

At a defended hearing the two men argued that they had been exercising a customary fishing right to take the mussels. However, the men had not obtained a customary permit authorising this as required. The daily limit of 25 green-lipped mussels still applied in terms of what they were lawfully entitled to take and possess.

The men were found guilty individually for the original infringement fines of $500 each plus $30 court costs.

“It’s great that the majority of recreational fishers take care and responsibility in their fishing activities, and also take pride in playing their part by sticking to the rules,” says Mr Mikkelsen.

“We ask the public to report any suspicious activity in our fishery by phoning 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). The assistance of the public by reporting suspicious or illegal activity to fishery officers is a key element in protecting our fishery.”

For information about recreational fishing limits visit www.fish.govt.nz or get up-to-date fishing rules with the free MPI fishing app by texting ‘app’ to 9889.
ends

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url