Fines for Whangamata pipi gatherers

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Three pipi gatherers were jointly fined more than $2500 for taking 1000 pipi from the Whangamata Estuary in Thames District Court last week.

Leonard Charles Barbarich, of Whangamata, John Stanley September, of Papakura, and Steven Mark Powell, of Manukau, all pleaded guilty to charges of taking more than three times the daily limit of pipi. Each gatherer was fined $750 plus $130 court costs.

Ministry for Primary Industries District Compliance Manager Waikato/Bay of Plenty Brendon Mikkelsen says the fines are a timely reminder for those that ignore the recreational fishing rules.

Honorary Fishery Officers approached the gatherers in the Moana Point Reserve as they left the estuary and asked to check their catch.

They had over 1000 pipi between them, when the limit for recreational gatherers is 50 per person per day for the Coromandel area. They told the Honorary Fishery Officers they did not know what the daily limit was.

Mr Mikkelsen said fishers and shellfish gatherers need to know the rules before they go out and ask themselves “is my catch legal?”

“Managing the sustainability of our fishery is a top priority for MPI, and ignorance of the rules is not a defence.”

Information of all limits and sizes including closures and other rules can be found on the MPI

Fishing rules pamphlets are available at MPI offices and at many fishing shops, or text 9889 to have the NZ Fishing Rules App sent to your smart phone.

MPI encourages people to report any suspicious fishing activity to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are confidential.

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