Fishery officers were disappointed to catch people inside the Marlborough Sounds on Labour Weekend who were taking blue cod during the annual closed season – 1 September to 19 December (inclusive of both dates).
Three vessels had whole blue cod on board and 2 more had fillets. It is an offence to have filleted blue cod on board boats in the Sounds, as they cannot be accurately measured.
Ministry for Primary Industries District Compliance Manager Nelson/Marlborough Ian Bright said it was disappointing to find people ignoring the closed season in the Sounds.
"Everyone wants to re-build blue cod numbers in the Sounds. The closed season is the breeding season. Taking blue cod during this time doesn’t help the re-build."
Mr Bright said Fishery Officers also found fishers with undersize scallops, others with undersize paua and another with shucked paua.
"It’s a timely reminder for fishers that scallops, paua and oysters must be in a measurable (in the shell) state at sea. It is an offence to possess these shellfish seaward of the high water mark in an immeasurable state."
"And a big thumbs up to the majority of fishers we inspected who were following the rules and looking after their fishery."
Patrolling figures at a glance:
- fishery officers inspected 101 recreational vessels and spoke to 356 people over 2 days
- 5 blue cod offences
- 2 scallop offences – undersize
- 2 paua offences – undersize, and having shucked paua on a vessel (cannot be measured)
- one crayfish offence – taking crayfish in the softshell state.
- 2 commercial inspections and one commercial offence for not reporting catch correctly.
Fishery officers are able to issue infringement notices (instant fines up to $500) for the offences, and will be further investigating the commercial offence.
MPI encourages people to report any suspicious fishing activity to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are confidential.