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Judge’s Decision Disappoints Fish & Game

Judge’s Decision Disappoints Fish & Game

Today’s decision to give a Temuka man 100 hours of community service for selling sports fish to the public has disappointed Fish & Game, which believes the sentence handed down was “too lenient and will not go far enough to act as sufficient deterrent for others who may contemplate such actions,” that according to Jay Graybill, Chief Executive Central South Island Fish & Game.

In a case, which was the first of its kind, Hayden Don plead guilty to numerous charges of selling sports fish over a four month period in 2013.

The fish, mostly salmon, were caught in the hydro canal system in the McKenzie High Country, and were offered by texting cell phone numbers or cold calling at local businesses. The fish were smoked and vacuum packed at a Temuka butchery.

“The canal fishery is a unique fishery, and is quite possibly the most popular fishery in the country, with plenty of fish and easy access. Most people obey the rules and fish in an ethical manner, which is why today’s decision needed to send the right message.” adds Mr Graybill.

“The actions of the accused (Hayden Don) are counter to the very purpose of Fish & Game’s existence, and are not only contrary to the spirit of sports fishing in New Zealand, but are in blatant breach of Fish & Game’s regulations.”

The sports fish regulations clearly state that ‘every person commits an offence who buys, sells, or has in his or her possession for the purpose of sale any freshwater fish taken in New Zealand.’ Mr Graybill also says the New Zealand sports fishery is there for the enjoyment of all New Zealanders and not for the gains, financial or otherwise of an individual.

Fish & Game will not appeal today’s decision, but assures anglers that compliance activities around the canals will remain high, as we enter the new fishing season on October 1, 2014.

ENDS

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