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Help us to help your fishing success

Help us to help your fishing success, says seafood industry

MEDIA RELEASE

Embargoed: 4pm, Thursday 26th October (start time of the launch at Tarakena Bay Boat Ramp, just past Moa Point, Wellington)

The Paua Industry Council and CRAMAC 5 (the commercial stakeholder organisation for the Canterbury-Marlborough rock lobster fishery) are pleased to see their Poaching is Theft initiative set in motion after today’s launch by Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton.

“We are glad the Ministry of Fisheries and recreational fishers have come on board to help us with Poaching is Theft. The initiative aims to protect the rights of New Zealanders to legitimately and sustainably harvest fish stocks and to enjoy a reasonable quality of fishing success,” says Paua Industry Council Chairman Ed Arron.

“Fish thieving deprives communities of fishing opportunities. Customary, recreational and commercial fishing are all affected and this initiative aims to bring these groups together in partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries to promote more responsible use of the resource”.

“By reporting fish thieves you are helping legitimate users have access to a quality catch and protecting future fishing opportunities,” says Larnce Wichman, Regional Officer for CRAMAC 5.

“We want to raise awareness of the very negative impacts of fish thieving and get people to report all suspicious or illegal behaviour. If someone offers you cheap lobsters at the pub, you’ll now know what to do about it and why.”

Reporting such activity or any suspected theft is a key outcome of educating the public with the Poaching is Theft information pack, he said.

Graeme Sinclair, of Carter’s Gone Fishin’, has lent his support to the initiative, encouraging all New Zealanders to help end fish theft and protect the fisheries for future generations.

“By sticking to your bag and size limits for paua and rock lobster, and reporting suspicious activity, everyone can play their part to ensure the future of good fishing,” says Graeme.
Poaching of fish and shellfish is an active and extensive illegal business in New Zealand, costing our economy around half-a-billion dollars a year in potential exports and recreational use – and even more in terms of managing the resource for the future. Poaching is so prevalent in some parts of the country that utilisation of some fish stocks is at risk.

The Poaching is Theft initiative aims to reduce removals of millions of dollars of fish and shellfish that are taken illegally from our coastlines every year by helping fishing communities to understand the impacts of fish thieving and how they can act to prevent it.

The first stage of the initiative involves providing information packs to recreational fishermen, and distributing them to workplaces, pubs, clubs, libraries and community information centres. The packs contain detailed information about the importance of reporting suspicious and illegal activities.

For further information please contact:
Sarah Crysell
Communications Manager
NZ Seafood Industry Council
Ph: 04 802 1506 or 027 231 7914

Background Information:

How do you help stop fish theft?

If you see someone:
• taking over their daily limit
• taking undersized fish
• acting suspiciously at sea or onshore
• offering you cheap paua or rock lobster (crayfish), especially if its for cash

Report them: Call 0800 4 POACHER - remember: Poaching is Theft

The Ministry of Fisheries will use all information reported. They may have a Compliance Officer on hand who can respond immediately, or the information will be added to their file for the area. This information will be used to plan operations that will net the poachers.

Every call will be attended to and acted upon and any information provided will remain confidential and can be supplied anonymously. In the event of a prosecution, members of the community are being encouraged to fill in a Victim Impact Statement – because it is everyday New Zealanders who are the victims of this crime.

What happens if a ‘couple extra’ or undersize paua or crays are taken?

With over 800,000 recreational fishers in New Zealand, if everyone takes a ‘few more’ than allowed, the numbers soon add up. The limits have been set carefully to ensure that the maximum number can be taken without harming the resource – even one or two more could have an effect on the resource.

If undersized paua or rock lobsters are taken, they cannot complete the breeding cycle. By taking or buying undersized fish the resource is being robbed of babies and young mothers. By sticking to the rules and taking a stand against those that are abusing the system everyone can help to protect these resources for the future.

Ends


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