Video: On the job with a senior fishery officer (2.54)
Our fishery officers often join forces with New Zealand Customs, patrolling our expansive waters and protecting our borders. Watch senior fishery officer El'Camino Wade at work on the Hawke V.
(Aerial shot of Customs' vessel Hawk V in the Bay of Islands.)
Title: Fisheries Compliance with El'Camino
(MPI fishery officer El'Camino looks through binoculars out to sea.)
"Ministry for Primary Industries fishery officers, work with other agencies such as New Zealand Customs to patrol our waters.
(Shots of Hawk V vessel at port, life buoy on vessel.)
"We undertook inspections and boarded vessels in the Northland area.
(On the wharf at Auckland port, a fishery officer passes bags to El'Camino, onboard Customs vessel Hawk V)
"I chose to become a fishery officer because I thought I had to make a difference and I'm out here making a difference, and sharing the joy with the Customs maritime team, out here.
(El'Camino speaking to camera)
"Essentially our role as fishery officers, we're out here to maintain and protect our resources out in the beautiful Tangaroa.
(Customs pilot driving vessel, Auckland, in background)
"Primarily our role, over this week, is to conduct inspections on commercial fishing vessels. A lot of the time we would get out there and inspect these vessels just to ensure that they are reporting this catch correctly.”
(Expansive sea and Rangitoto in background)
"So, what we have here is the commercial fishing fleet that is out in our current patrol area.
"What we're trying to identify is the vessels that are out there fishing as part of their global position reporting systems.
(Close up of fingers on computer screen, which shows the map of NZ. It shows the electronic fishing tool.)
"With that, there is also the electronic reporting tool which goes with these. Having a look inside here, we can identify each vessel and see what they've caught or what their catch is currently, before or prior to boarding.
(Close up of fingers on computer screen)
"The majority of the time, we do like to see what they are identifying as their catch before we do jump onboard.
(Shots of El'Camino looking through binoculars, shots of Customs staff on inflatable)
"We can see if they have caught anything, if not then we want to go onboard the vessel and actually identify what they've caught and make sure that they are reporting that correctly.
(El'Camino gets off the inflatable boat and boards the Hawk V. He shakes hand with the fisher and crew onboard the fishers boat)
"Yeah that's right.
(Shots of fish in the bucket onboard the vessel)
"So, all this catch that he has got here, in the bucket, does need to be reported and he will be recording the catch and completing that catch.
(Fisher explains to El'Camino how the monitoring works)
"When I come back to my line to start hauling - with another prompt it will say start hauling and then it takes the position of where I started hauling. I’m prompted to enter all the species that have been landed.
(Seagulls fly close to the sea)
"This fisher is a good commercial fisher and compliance was good on the day.”
(El'Camino speaks to camera)
"As part of the inspection uh, we boarded the vessel, as part of the requirements for a commercial fisher they are there to report their catch. They are there to complete the catch and they are there to provide the catch electronically and with that the commercial fisher has done that."
If you want to know more about becoming a fishery officer go to our website.
[End of transcript]
Fishery officer profile: Kyall Boonen
Kyall Boonen is a fishery officer who wants New Zealanders to enjoy fishing and diving as much as he does. We caught up with Kyall to talk about what led him to the role, what he gets up to day-to-day, and how he helps to keep our shared fisheries sustainable now and into the future.
What attracted you to the role?
It all began in Gisborne growing up. As a kid, I would head down to the river, wharf or rocky outcrop to chuck a line in as soon and as often as I could. I then moved to Whakatane where things really went into overdrive, fishing every weekend alongside my cousins. It didn't take long to start diving as well. I decided I wanted to know more, so studied a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Marine Biology.
Soon I began working for a private fisheries research company doing voluntary surveys of catches of crayfish, scallops, kahawai, and gurnard. The work exposed me to the pressures on our precious resources and the sometimes lack of respect for the rules surrounding New Zealanders' favourite past-time.
A vacancy for a fisheries officer came up in early 2014. I moved to Auckland to begin my new career as a fishery officer with the Ministry for Primary Industries. Some 9 months later, the opportunity arose to transfer to the winterless north and be stationed in Whangarei.
What's special about the Northland fisheries?
The fishery is unique. There is a lot of customary fishing in the area, which brought me into day-to-day contact with various iwi groups.
The area stretches from Wellsford to the Kaipara Harbour in the south, up to Hokianga Harbour across to Whangaroa in the north.
The coasts are in close proximity to each other, about a 2-hour drive from side to side. There are different fishery rules for each coast, which means there is a lot to learn.
The whole area is a fishery mecca. Everyone seems involved with it in some form or another, whether it be mum, dad and the kids collecting scallops within the harbour, big game fishing, or commercial operations. It has a massive amount of species.
What did your job involve day-to-day?
I spent a lot of time stopping poaching and selling of seafood. There are also a lot of illegal Facebook sales – basically, people trying to make a buck out of recreational fishing.
On the commercial side, I got involved in inspections to make sure operators were sticking to rules.
Have you got any good work stories?
A big one involved 2 foreign vessels misreporting bluefin tuna catches and fishing without a licence. They were fined nearly $1 million for that a few months ago and the vessels were deregistered.
I was part of Operation Zodiac 2016, the joint MPI and NZDF (NZ Defence Force) patrol that detected the offending. The vessels were caught fishing in an area between New Zealand and Fiji and were misreporting southern bluefin tuna as lower-value bigeye tuna.
I was deployed on the navy's offshore patrol vessel, the HMNZS Otago when the bust was made. The patrol involved a month on the high seas. It was one of my most interesting work experiences and ended with some great results.
As an enforcer of regulations, is it hard trying to maintain good community relations?
I don't find that. If you act fairly and treat people with respect you get a good reaction. There have even been offenders we have prosecuted who have been fine to shake my hand at the end of it. On the whole, we get a lot of support for what we do, which is very reassuring.
What qualities make a good fisheries officer?
You need to be able to relate to people. There's a lot of misconception that we're here to stop people and we're against fishing. The fact is the majority of fishery officers really like fishing and diving. We want the resource to be enjoyed by people but in a sustainable manner. It's great to be able to show you genuinely enjoy the resource like everyone else.
Working in the Chathams
I took over the solo fishery officer role in the Chatham Islands early in 2018. It's a 2 and a half year secondment.
I am looking forward to this opportunity, in particular bringing my son up in an area that will expose him to the ocean and fishing opportunities much like I had.
This is why I think it is important to do the job I do so, for many generations to come, we can all continue to enjoy the fabulous past-time of fishing and diving.