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Clutha anglers hook big fines

Clutha anglers hook big fines

Two Kaitangata men caught fishing without licences on the lower Clutha River were fined nearly $1000 each by a Balclutha Court Judge on Tuesday. Both men pled guilty to the charge by letter.

The latest fines are a continuation of a series of large penalties which has been welcomed by the Otago Fish & Game Council.

Otago Fish & Game Council Operations Manager Ian Hadland said the requirement for a fishing licence is well known and understood and legitimate anglers have an expectation that F&G will promptly and firmly deal with anyone caught without one.

"It seems that the Courts are increasingly supportive of that principle too and recognise that licence fees are important in maintaining the sports fishery and habitat on behalf of all New Zealanders. So this is another good result” Mr Hadland said

Potential for large fines and forfeiture of gear are the biggest deterrents for people who might think of taking the risk of fishing without a licence. Judge O’Driscoll noted the need to keep penalties high enough so as to make the choice to fish without a licence an ‘uneconomic prospect’.

“The judge certainly drove that point home and when you consider that a $20 investment in a day licence could have saved these chaps from a conviction and a $1000 fine, the economics of the situation couldn’t be more apparent”. Mr Hadland said.

Mr Hadland added that a licence is a good investment, not just to stay within the law and avoid fines, but to help fund management of the sport and provide a credible voice to protect freshwater and fisheries.

ENDS

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