Northland Diver Breaches Scallop Limit On 1st Day Of Season
10 September 2012
Northland Diver Breaches Scallop Limit On First Day Of Season
A fifty-one year-old Northland man was caught by fishery officers with more than three times the daily limit of scallops on the first day of the scallop season.
The man was apprehended after a routine inspection by fishery officers in Whangarei Harbour on Saturday 1 September, 2012.
Fishery officers measured the scallops and found that of the 139 scallops gathered, 134 of them were less than the legal minimum size of 100 millimetres, leaving five scallops of legal size. The man was entitled to gather a total of 60 scallops, 20 for himself and 20 for each of his two safety people onboard.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Northland District Compliance Manager, Darren Edwards says that since the start of the scallop season three people have been found breaching the regulations in Northland.
“It’s great to see people out on the water and fishing responsibly, however it’s always disappointing when fishers show a total disregard for fisheries regulations,” says Mr Edwards.
“Information on fishing regulations is widely available and can be found on the MPI website, brochures at your local fisheries office, or by contacting your local fishery officer. So there is no excuse for not knowing daily fish limits.”
As a result of the man’s offending his boat and boat trailer were seized and he is likely to face prosecution in relation to serious offences against the Fisheries Act 1996. Taking or possessing excess shellfish carries penalties of up to $20,000 and forfeiture of any property used in the commission of the offence.
Northland Fishery officers supported by Honorary Fishery officers were out patrolling Northland’s waters and beaches during the first weekend to of this year’s scallop season which runs between 1 September to 31 March (both days inclusive).
During the first weekend of the scallop season fishery officers conducted more than 90 inspections between the Bay of Islands and Whangarei specifically dealing with fishers gathering scallops.
“While the weather conditions were not the best it was great to see that nearly everyone spoken to was aware of the scallop regulations and were only taking what they were entitled too. Unfortunately there are always a small number of people who are not willing to comply with the regulations.”
The daily bag limit for scallops in the Northland area is 20 per fisher. In addition, divers are entitled to take an amount equivalent to an extra daily bag for each of up to two safety people onboard a boat.
“Fishery officers will again be actively patrolling Northland waters this summer but cannot be everywhere so we ask for the public’s assistance. If you see people taking more than the legal limit, you should report them by calling 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).”
For more information about recreational fishing limits visit http://www.fish.govt.nz