The Ministry for Primary Industries is looking into a commercial fishing vessel accidentally losing a significant amount of fish from a net in Napier Harbour yesterday.
MPI District Compliance Manager Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa Ray McKay said fishery officers were returning from a land-based patrol yesterday afternoon when they noticed a significant quantity of red cod floating near the Napier Wharf adjacent to a commercial fishing vessel.
Mr McKay said fishery officers spoke to the skipper who said a split trawl net caused the accidental spill of fish.
The skipper said he had got a larger than expected haul of fish and was unable to retrieve it safely at sea, so he dragged the net back to the safety of the harbour to bring it aboard.
As the net was being retrieved it split, losing up to a tonne of fish into the water, mostly red cod with some gurnard and flounder. A further 750kg of fish was successfully taken aboard.
Mr McKay said it is an unfortunate waste of fish and a potential nuisance in a busy area.
"MPI's main focus is that these spilt fish are recorded against the Quota Management System, to ensure the ongoing sustainability of fish stocks.
"It's a waste that these fish won't be eaten, but every fish caught by commercial operators must be recorded so MPI can manage fish stocks sustainably and future generations can enjoy the opportunities we do."
The potential nuisance of fish washing ashore is being dealt with by Hawkes Bay Regional Council.