Holiday season fisheries compliance – 20 December to 11 January

Media contact: MPI Media phone
Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries is generally happy with the level of compliance for recreational fishers over the three week holiday period, with shellfish gathering being an exception in some areas.

MPI Compliance Director Dean Baigent says it was a busy time for staff and honorary fisheries officers and the majority of fishers inspected were respecting the daily limits and minimum sizes.

“A couple of exceptions to this were cockle gatherers in the Auckland area who were taking more than the 50 allowed per day, and paua gatherers in pockets of the east coast from Gisborne to Canterbury.”

“Very warm weather and calm sea conditions made paua habitat very accessible in some areas.”

“Our staff and honorary fisheries officers get a lot of support from locals and holiday makers alike and we always welcome any reports of suspicious fishing activity.”

Call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) to report suspected illegal fishing activity, like poaching and illegal trade of seafood. All calls are confidential.

The figures below have been compiled for each compliance district for recreational fisheries patrolling and responding to animal welfare complaints for the Ministry for Primary Industries over the three week holiday period (20 December 2014 to 11 January 2015).

Not all figures are complete for each district, as data input may not be complete. During this continuing busy period, the emphasis is on patrolling, while figures are entered as and when time allow. This varies from office to office.

  • 486 fisheries offences were recorded.
  • 21 animal welfare complaints.


  • Offences – 86 (warnings, infringements and prosecutions – breakdown not available)
  • Animal welfare – 3 complaints

It was extremely busy with a pleasing level of recreational fishing compliance. Regular land and water patrols will continue throughout January.


  • Offences – 38 (warnings, infringements and prosecutions – breakdown not available)
  • Animal Welfare – 2 complaints

Compliance has been in line with past years, with cockles being the notable exception. Many of the 38 offences relate to people taking more than their daily limit of 50 cockles per person (for the Auckland/Coromandel area). Several of these will lead to prosecutions.

Waikato/Bay of Plenty

  • Offences – 24 (6 warnings, 10 infringement notices, 8 prosecutions likely)
  • Animal welfare – 4 complaints

Most fishers are well aware of the new snapper regulations and the majority of offences related to people taking too many, or undersized shellfish, with paua being the most common species. All of the likely prosecutions relate to shellfish.

Eastern Bay of Plenty/Poverty Bay

  • Offences – 42 (37 infringements and 5 prosecutions likely)
  • Animal welfare – 1 complaint

Staff were busy patrolling and running roadside check points. Most offences involved crayfish and paua. The most notable offence was a fisher with 332 kina who obstructed a compliance officer and tried to flee the scene. Fisheries and police charges are likely to be laid.

Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa

  • Offences – 71 (62 warnings, 8 infringements and 1 prosecution likely)
  • Animal welfare – 1 complaint

Most offences involved paua or crayfish.


  • Offences –14 (7 warnings, 5 infringements and 1 likely prosecution)
  • Animal welfare – 4 complaints

Compliance rates were high. One exception was two fishers found with 138 paua who will face prosecution.

It is worthwhile to note that the Wellington coast gets a lot of pressure from paua thieves who supply the black market trade. Much of the compliance effort for this area goes into thwarting this activity. The large influx of people to the beaches over the holiday period makes it very difficult for organised fish thieves to operate.


Kaikoura Coast

  • Offences – 82 (36 warnings, 43 infringements and 3 prosecutions likely)

10 interventions for people fishing in the new marine reserve

  • Animal welfare – no significant issues

Exceptional weather and sea conditions saw very high levels of recreational activity in the Kaikoura area and one of the worst compliance rates for several years. The new recreational rules for the Kaikoura area were not well followed, despite a comprehensive signage, brochure and advertising campaign (170 new signs on the coast, 30,000 brochures distributed to 112 bait and tackle shops and related outlets from Christchurch north).

Marlborough Sounds

  • Offences – 21 (nine warnings and 12 infringements)
  • Animal welfare – no significant issues

Fisheries offending related to blue cod and set net breaches.


  • Offences – 73 (52 warnings, 20 infringements and 1 prosecution likely)
  • Animal welfare – no significant issues

One person caught spear-fishing and gathering paua in Pohatu Marine Reserve with a prosecution likely.

Compliance was mostly good in Canterbury with paua being an exception. Wainui in Akaroa Harbour was a problem with compliance officers issuing infringements for taking undersized paua on most low tides.

Difficult fishing weather meant compliance officers were not required to patrol the West Coast. However, an Honorary Fishery Officer was very active in the more sheltered Haast/Jackson Bay area.


  • Offences – 25 (10 warnings, 14 infringements and 1 prosecution likely)

The prosecution relates to two fishers being found with 261 flounder at Caroline Bay in Timaru, when the daily limit is 30 per person. Serious fisheries charges are likely to be laid.

  • Animal welfare – a large spike in complaints with five complaints received in early January.

One property involves hundreds of horses, deer and cattle in poor condition, where MPI staff and vets will be working with the owner to mitigate the problem.


  • Offences – 20 (15 warnings, 4 infringements and 1 prosecution likely)

The prosecution relates to a man who was caught with 86 toheroa, which is a no-take species.

  • Animal welfare – 1 complaint

Call 0800 00 83 33 to report ill treatment of production farm animals like cows, sheep, goats, etc. For animal welfare issues relating to domestic animals such as cats and dogs, please call the SPCA.

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