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Hook, Line And Fine: Twenty-three Boats Caught Fishing In Motiti Protection Area

Friday, 26 April 2024

Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council is reminding skippers that fishing or taking any kind of marine life from the Motiti Protection Area is banned, after 23 boaties were caught in the act over the festive season.

The three offshore reef systems surrounding Motiti Island have been protected since August 2021 when the Motiti Protection Area was established. This came about after the Environment Court instructed Regional Council to better look after this marine environment and the taonga (treasured) species that call it home.

Regulatory Compliance Manager, Matt Harrex, says the settled weather this summer has enabled Regional Council to conduct more regular patrols, to ensure people are following the rules.

“The rules are clear and apply to everyone equally: You can no longer take marine life from the three areas making up the Motiti Protection Area. The location and boundaries of these protected areas are clearly advertised at all Tauranga boat ramps, are charted, and are publicised over summer, so it’s really disappointing to still see a number of boats fishing in the area.”

“People who fish have a responsibility to know the rules. While most of the interactions were first time occurrences, it was particularly disappointing to see two commercial charter boat operators fishing within the protected area, as they have a responsibility to themselves and their clients to know the rules. These skippers have been fined accordingly,” he said.

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Boaties caught breaking the rules can be fined $500. More serious offending can lead to prosecution and carries a possible sentence of two years imprisonment, or a $300,000 fine for an individual or $600,000 for a company.

Since the Motiti Protection Area was introduced, Regional Council has been working with tangata whenua, Department of Conservation and the University of Waikato to monitor the area, to get a better understanding of the environmental and cultural values of these reefs.

To learn more about the rules and our monitoring programme, visit

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