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Scallop selfishness in the Sounds

Scallop selfishness in the Sounds

Since the opening of the recreational scallop season on 15 July, Fishery Officers have been carrying out land and sea patrols in the top of the south to make sure fishers are aware of the rules and are following them.

A large number of fishers have been inspected, with the majority staying within the daily bag limit of 50 per gatherer. However, there are always those who think they can operate outside the rules and take excess or undersize shellfish.

Last weekend, Fishery Officers from Nelson and Blenheim apprehended a group of four in possession of more than 1000 scallops, many of which were undersize, in Squally Cove near Okiwi Bay. Nelson Bays/Marlborough Field Operations Manager Geoff Clark said he believed that these scallops, more than four times the permitted daily bag limit, had been gathered that day.

“Two thousand partially frozen scallops were also located in a search of a property the group had been staying in. The indications are that these scallops had been gathered over the preceding two days.”

Five people were spoken to regarding this incident and are likely to face serious charges, which will be decided in the near future. A boat, dinghy and vehicle that the group used to gather the scallops have been seized.

“We won’t put up with this sort of behaviour,” Mr Clark said. “The rules are there for a reason – to make sure there are enough scallops for the community to share now and in future.”

Fishers are reminded that the minimum size of scallops for this area is 90 millimetres across the widest part of the shell and that a daily bag limit of 50 per gatherer applies.

Fishery Officers will be out patrolling our beaches as the weather improves, but they cannot be everywhere. The public are encouraged to report any suspicious activity to the Ministry of Fisheries on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).

The recreational scallop gathering season in this area closes on 14 February 2011.

ENDS

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