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‘Niggly’ Offences Frustrate Fish & Game Rangers

Media release from North Canterbury Fish & Game

Niggly Offences Frustrate Fish & Game Rangers

9 January 2013

Media Release

‘Niggly’ Offences Frustrate Fish & Game Rangers

Co-ordinated ranging activities over the festive holiday season across the lower South Island’s fisheries have seen Fish & Game issue a higher than usual number of infringement notices for easily avoidable offences, frustrating rangers.

The majority of anglers found in breach of the regulations were issued notices for ‘Failure to Produce’ their licence upon request - simply not having their licence with them while out fishing.

“These notices wouldn’t be issued if a little more care and attention was taken by some anglers before heading onto the waterways, and that’s annoying.” stated Ian Hadland, Otago Fish & Game’s Operations Manager.

Though compliance was found to be running at 80-85%, 14 anglers face prosecution following the dedicated ranging effort for ‘fishing without a licence’ and, if found guilty could face fines of between $500 – $700 dollars, plus court costs.

Mr Hadland said one of the most common excuses for not having a fishing licence is that they couldn’t get to a licence agency within work hours. “It simply doesn’t wash with us. We run a pretty efficient online licence purchasing facility that’s open 24hours a day. Anybody with internet access can enter the Fish & Game website, buy a licence, print it out and be fishing five minutes later. It just isn’t a valid excuse”.

“People who don’t buy licences are getting subsidised angling by those that do pay for a licence, and that’s just not fair. Licencing isn’t a tax – it’s a contribution to sport fish management and the kiwi way of life!”

Mark Webb, Field Officer for Central South Island Fish & Game Region agreed with Mr Hadlands sentiments and noted that “the Compliance rate was not as good as it could be, and was in fact poorer than previous years.”

In the lead up to the New Year, Webb organised 13 Rangers to spend a day in the Upper Waitaki area - Of the 170 anglers interviewed, 25 were issued notices for failing to produce their licence and one for fishing without a licence.

On a positive note Webb said “Generally everyone was in holiday mode and pleased to see you, produce their licence and have a chat, it was a pleasant ranging experience for all.”

Bucking the trend was the Southland region where rangers checked over 750 licences through the holiday period, and only detected 7 offences for fishing without a licence, and issued a further 12 notices to people who were unable to produce their licences when questioned.

"We're really pleased with the high levels of compliance we've observed this holiday season, particularly with more people now carrying their licence while fishing, which saves a lot of paperwork for our rangers and is less hassle for anglers", reported Southland Fish & Game Operations Manager, Zane Moss.

Fish & Game intend to maintain their presence at popular lake and river destinations over the remainder of the summer and have several coordinated ranging events planned to improve the overall rate of compliance.

“Anybody tempted to fish without a sports fishing licence should take note that rangers have been instructed to write offence notices and seize fishing tackle off any offenders. There will be no warnings issued”

ENDS

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