MPI investigates accidental loss of fish off Muriwai

Media contact: MPI media team
Telephone: 029 894 0328

New vessel monitoring technology allowed Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers to meet a commercial boat arriving in port after it accidentally lost fish overboard.

Fishery officers received information yesterday (20 October) morning that dead fish were washing up on Muriwai Beach, west of Auckland.

Two officers immediately went to the beach and confirmed a large number of legal sized snapper and a small number of gurnard and John Dory had washed up.

At the same time fishery officers checked a new positional monitoring system that is being implemented on commercial snapper boats and established that a trawler was working off Muriwai the previous night (19 October) and was heading to Onehunga Wharf.

The new monitoring system is a joint government and industry initiative to improve the information available for sustainably managing fisheries.

Fishery officers met the boat at Onehunga and interviewed the skipper and crew who said the boat was hit by three big waves as it retrieved a trawl net the previous night, losing 400 to 500 kg of fish overboard.

The monitoring system showed that the boat had an unusual kink in its course that corresponded with the information given by the crew.

Fishery officers gathered the catch returns for the trip and information from the boat's electronic equipment for further analysis to make sure all reporting requirements have been met.

Commercial fishermen must report all fish they catch so they can be recorded and fish stocks can be managed sustainably.

MPI District Compliance Manager Manukau Jacob Hore said it is great to get timely information about unusual or suspicious fishing activity.

"The person who phoned this in did everything right. Getting accurate information as soon as the fish were spotted meant we could respond immediately."

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

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