People who dump shells and fish frames on the shoreline are being urged to show a bit more courtesy towards others.

Northland Regional Council coastal and water quality field operations manager Ricky Eyre said that with roughly 3200km of coastline and some "fantastic" beaches and islands, it was not surprising that people flocked to Northland's coastal areas, especially at this time of year.

However, the onset of summer often coincided with a spike in the numbers of people making life unnecessarily unpleasant, and potentially risky, for others by dumping fish frames, and the remains of kina, oysters and other shellfish, on beaches and coastal margins.

Dumping of fish frames and shellfish was not allowed under regional council rules but was still a reasonably common problem, not just at beaches around Northland but in other parts of New Zealand too.

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"The regional council generally adopts a fairly pragmatic approach to the issue, appreciating that in some conditions, such as in deep, well-flushed waters, the practice realistically poses little risk to other beach users or the environment," Mr Eyre said.

"However, when dumped in the intertidal area, or on land nearby, including beaches, the waste can pose a potential risk to other beach users. You wouldn't want to stand on a broken kina shell in bare feet, put it that way."

The vast majority of people did the right thing, but there were always some inconsiderate ones who simply didn't appear to consider others. Waste could also affect water quality and attract scavenging stingrays and sharks, again posing a potential risk to other people.
Approved disposal options included taking waste home and burying it.

"Or, in the case of fish frames, you can take advantage of a group set up especially to ensure they don't go to waste," he added.

Go to www.freefishheads.co.nz for information.