A yellow kayak with only one fresh snapper onboard was discovered floating off the Cavalli Islands in Northland, sparking a search by Coastguard.

Senior Sergeant Brian Swann said the alarm was raised about 10.10am yesterday by a fisher in a boat who spotted the drifting kayak northeast of the popular Cavalli Islands.

There was one snapper in the kayak and no fishing gear or paddle.

Whangaroa Coastguard was contacted and searched around the Cavalli Islands as well as Flat Island and Mahinepua Bay. The Northland Air Patrol was also searching the area from the air, while police search and rescue staff were also involved.

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Swann said it was possible the kayak could have drifted from shore.

An officer who had canvassed locals around the coast said there were no reports of anyone launching on a kayak during the morning.

Police had received no reports of a missing person by edition time last night.

Police appealed to members of the public to contact police immediately if they could help with finding the person who owned the kayak.