An Otago commercial fisher who set and hauled nets within dolphin protection areas has been fined $11,900.
Following a successful Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) prosecution, Lance Edmond Nicolson (34) was sentenced yesterday (25 January 2022) at the Dunedin District Court on one charge of using a set net within 4nm of the coast, in waters off Otago on 6 separate occasions.
The offending occurred between 12 October and 6 November 2019, when he was fishing and discovered through MPI's digital monitoring system which tracks fishing activity.
"Set netting can pose a risk to Hectors dolphins. Commercial fishers have a responsibility to be aware of what the regulations are in the area they are fishing, and ensure they comply.
"The rules are there for a reason and most people do the right thing and follow them closely, and when they don’t, we will hold them to account," says MPI's regional manager fish compliance, Garreth Jay.
Mr Nicolson reported setting and hauling set nets 6 times ranging from 295 metres to 1,270 metres inside the banned area.
The fishing vessel, Charlotte Rose, was forfeited to the Crown, along with set nets. Mr Nicolson was also ordered to pay costs of $2,046 to the Ministry for Primary Industries.
More information on protecting dolphins and on areas where set nets are banned
If you become aware of any suspicious fishing activity, call us on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.