Two Kaikoura set-net fishermen were fined In Blenheim District Court (5 August) for breaching sustainability measures that ensure that fish stocks are used efficiently.
Martin Richard Cleall, skipper of the Armacruzin, was convicted on two charges of leaving set nets in the water for more than 24 hours. He was fined $3,300 and ordered to pay court costs.
Allan Walter Bolton, then skipper of the Poseidon, was also convicted on two similar charges and fined $2,640, plus court costs.
The fishers had left nets in the water for periods of between 48 and 77 hours.
Ministry for Primary Industries District Compliance Manager Nelson/Marlborough Ian Bright said the 24 hour limit is to reduce waste and ensure fish stocks are used efficiently.
“The 24 hour limit is in place to prevent fish being spoiled by sea lice and predators, or decomposing from being left dead in the nets for a long time. It aims to ensure that all fish landed are in a good marketable condition to maximise the return to New Zealand from our fisheries.”
Mr Bright says MPI had made the fishers aware of the regulations and staff had been working with them for some time to get them to comply.
“MPI takes no delight in prosecutions. This was a last resort to alter the fishing practices of those involved.”
Judge Garland said that despite the best efforts of MPI to educate and encourage the fishers, they had placed financial and commercial imperatives ahead of their legal responsibility to help ensure the sustainability of the fishery.
Judge Garland said that if leaving nets in the water for longer than 24 hours was to become a regular practice, it would most certainly impact on the sustainability of the fishery.