The remains of a marlin found on the side of the road in Northland has disappointed those involved in game fishing circles and disgusted nearby residents who found the head, tail and guts near a bridge near Ngunguru on Sunday.

President of the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers Club, based at Tutukaka, Brenda Saul, was alerted to the fishy find and immediately went to the Waiotoi River Bridge.

Mrs Saul estimated the striped marlin would have weighed only about 40kg when it was landed and it was disappointing to think people would take such a small marlin. She said the long weekend combined with calm seas on Saturday saw many fishers take to the blue waters off the coast and there were plenty of marlin caught.

However, Mrs Saul said not everyone had weighed their marlin catches and the remains had not come from any fish that had been weighed at Tutukaka.


There is no legal minimum size for marlin as it is not a commercial fishery, but the club would not record any weighing less than 75kg.

She said it was unclear whether the remains had been dumped or had fallen off a vehicle in transit as there was a fish bin found nearby.

"With a marlin this size we encourage people to tag and release ... it's disappointing someone has decided to keep this one. People who have never caught a marlin can overestimate their weight. They get very excited about it but the fish can be too small."

Mrs Saul said the remains were disposed of.

Nearby resident Melva Ward said a neighbour alerted her to the remains. She was disgusted but said the river was a popular place for fishers to dump fish heads. There was also evidence of scallop and paua shells, many of which were undersize.

"The blatant disregard for the environment is hopeless," Ms Ward said. "We do what we can to keep our little area clean but when you see things like this that you despair."

The remains of two marlin had been found three years ago nearby, Ms Ward said.