Three men had their utility vehicle seized by the Ministry for Primary Industries this morning (10 July) after being caught with 1500 shellfish at a beach in Blockhouse Bay, West Auckland.
Two Honorary Fisheries Officers (HFOs) were patrolling at Waikowhai Reserve and saw a group of three men gathering shellfish from the rocks with their vehicle parked on the beach nearby.
The men loaded bags of shellfish into the vehicle and drove off the beach where they were stopped by the officers. The men denied there were any shellfish in the vehicle.
The officers conducted an inspection of the vehicle and located 1541 whelks and cats eyes in three bags in the vehicle. The daily combined limit for whelks and cats eyes is 50 per gatherer per day.
Due to the excess number of shellfish the vehicle, a 2008 Nissan Navara double cab utility was immediately seized.
MPI North Harbour, District Compliance Manager, Mike Simmons, says these three men took the equivalent of the daily allowance for 30 people.
“This is complete disregard for the fishery regulations, which are in place to ensure sustainability for future generations. This was a great catch by our honorary staff. These dedicated and committed staff are vital to maintain the fishery resource for everyone.”
Two of the men live in central Auckland and the third was visiting from overseas. The men will be facing charges and if convicted, the Nissan Navara Double Cab utility may be forfeited to the Crown.
Honorary Fishery Officers are highly trained volunteers who carry out patrols in their own time, enforcing the fishing regulations for the benefit of the community.