Better Look Over Your Shoulder - Warning To Poachers
Media release from Eastern Fish & Game
Better Look Over Your Shoulder - Fish & Game Warning To Poachers
The latest camouflaged ‘poacher cams’ are proving their worth in the Rotorua lakes district – giving trout poachers even more reason to look over their shoulder.
That’s according to Eastern Region Fish & Game, which has released information on the number of offenders caught over the last three months.
Fish & Game Officer Anthony van Dorp says that over the past three months (ending November) they’ve dealt with 30 people for a variety of offences ranging from fishing without a licence and fishing closed waters – to serious poaching offences.
He says that pleasingly, the poacher cams have shown relatively little happening in key spawning waters over the period – apart from the past month when eight separate groups of offenders, with between three to six people, were caught on camera.
“Some were carrying steel electric fence standards apparently stolen from a neighbouring farmer’s property. Others were armed with various implements, but we’re not giving out details so as not to encourage copycats. ”
Mr van Dorp says some of the offenders have been dealt with and two of adult age are being prosecuted. Fish & Game is working with Police officers to identify others from the photos collected, he adds.
He notes that while the surveillance cams have been used for several years, the new versions are significantly more sophisticated in terms of how well they’re disguised and how effectively they perform. “They can be left out in the field for months at a time happily snapping away and gathering many high quality images,” he says.
“They can operate day and night, and store an enormous number of photos in sequence.”
Mr van Dorp says the cams are a great tool for Fish & Game’s enforcement activities, providing better coverage of high risk areas – spawning streams close to Rotorua’s urban areas.
We can’t always identify all those caught on film but it means we can direct our resources into the areas getting the most attention and so get the best possible results, he says. “And if I was a trout poacher I’d feel very worried stepping into some of these streams, knowing that I can be filmed, identified, and then fined heavily or even imprisoned.”
Mr van Dorp says Fish & Game puts a great deal of emphasis on deterring and catching poachers because the impact on the fishery can be much more than the actual number of fish they poach.
By walking through the spawning streams they are trampling on the trout’s spawning grounds, destroying eggs and the redds, the ‘nest’ areas that trout produce in the gravels along the streambed.