Good behaviour rules as fishermen persevere

By John Cousins


Poor fishing on the Bay of Plenty has not tempted recreational fishermen into keeping undersized catches.

Brendon Mikkelsen, the district compliance manager for the Ministry for Primary Industries, said it had been a good summer for people sticking to the rules.

"It is one of our better years," he said.

No infringement notices had been issued over the holidays by officers checking boats fishing off the Western Bay's coastline, with only a few warnings such as if one fish was marginally undersized.

The high compliance rate had been helped by people not gathering shellfish because of the toxin warnings. "Most people are not taking shellfish."

The reports of poor catches did not surprise Mr Mikkelsen. He said it was traditionally a quiet time of the year for fishing in the Bay and far from the peak of the season.

"It is typical fishing for this time of the year."

The ministry was assisted in its fisheries work by uniformed volunteer officers who had all the authority of full-time staff except the power of arrest.

"Volunteers are out there doing the business and doing a great job," he said.

The ministry could call on 10 to 12 volunteers at any one time from Tauranga.

Mr Mikkelsen urged people to report any sightings of suspicious fishing activity on 0800-476-224. "We are really interested in black market fish - it is a trend. If it looks unusual, then we want to hear about it straight away."

It was illegal to sell fish that were caught by a recreational fisherman. Mr Mikkelsen said there had not been any recent cases and he wanted to keep it that way.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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