Editorial: Deal to fishing cheats

By Scott Inglis

I love fishing. Whether it's out on the sea for snapper or gurnard, or on a lake for trout, I find the peaceful setting and the anticipation of catching a fish relaxing - and actually catching one exhilarating.

I can remember catching my first decent trout at Lake Tarawera and taking it home with a wide grin.

It made a great meal that night.

My only problem with fishing is I don't get to do it enough.

So the thing that gets my blood boiling is people who break our fishing laws.

The programmes on television wind me up.

I cannot stand people arrogantly giving the law and other law-abiding anglers the one-fingered salute as they steal undersized fish or too many fish, or shellfish.

They are a disgrace.

Who do they think they are?

The worst of these criminals are commercial offenders.

I found the story on yesterday's front page about a Tauranga fisherman accused of failing to declare more than 12 tonnes of quota fish shocking.

Fishing officials seized his $300,000 boat, and charged him.

He faces a maximum sentence of a $250,000 fine and forfeiture of the vessel.

This case follows one in February and it makes me wonder just how many cowboys are out there plundering the sea and leaving little of our precious fishing resource for others.

The penalties seem tough enough. A $250,000 fine and confiscation should be enough to deter any fishing criminal.

So it is vital the judges actually dish out decent sentences.

If found guilty, this fisherman in the latest case should be banned from commercial fishing and have the boat permanently confiscated.

This would send a strong message to others thinking of doing a similar thing - and leave more fish in the sea for the rest of us.

Give-way dangerNew give-way rules announced by Transport Minister Steven Joyce should make life interesting on our roads.

Currently, if you're turning left you have to give way to right-turning traffic coming towards you.

This will change so the right-turning driver will have to give way.

And at uncontrolled T-intersections, motorists turning right on the continuing road have to give way to those turning right on the terminating road. The new rules will also reverse that rule.

Mr Joyce believes the changes will reduce confusion on the roads.

This remains to be seen. I know that I, for one, will most likely get confused when the time comes. I can see a few close scrapes ahead.

The critical thing now is the Government follows up with a comprehensive education programme well in advance of the changes coming into force next year so everyone knows about it.

If they don't get that right, I can see mayhem on the roads.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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