A fisher in the Hauraki Gulf got a nasty surprise yesterday (1 October) when Ministry for Primary Industries fishery officers seized his boat for ignoring recreational scallop dredging rules.
Fishery officers were out on the Gulf inspecting catches yesterday when they saw a man dredging for scallops. When inspected, the fisherman had 67 scallops, 51 which were undersize.
The daily limit for Scallops 20, and the minimum size is 100mm.
MPI District Compliance Manager North Harbour Mike Simmons said this incident was a blatant disregard of the fishing rules.
“The fisher had not returned the scallops to the sea at the first opportunity, which is the legal requirement if dredging. Fishers who disregard the rules are endangering a pastime many New Zealanders enjoy, especially with summer approaching.”
As a result, the fisher’s Bayliner pleasure boat valued at approximately $50,000 was seized.
Mr Simmons said there is a process for getting the boat back, and the inconvenience of a temporarily losing a boat can be avoided by following the rules.
“If the offending is serious enough, the court can order the boat to be forfeit to the Crown.”
The fisher is likely to face fisheries charges with a maximum penalty of up to $20,000.
MPI encourages people to report any suspicious fishing activity to 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are confidential.