Boaties are being reminded not to fish on reefs surrounding Mōtītī Island after out-of-towners were caught fishing in the protected area.
This is the first summer the three protected reefs that make up the Mōtītī Protection Area
have been closed to all fishing since the Environment Court ruling last April.
But with long weekends providing ample time to get out on the water, Bay of Plenty Regional Council is asking fishers to please steer clear.
In a statement, the council's general manager of regulatory services Sarah Omundsen said since the new rules came in last August, the only people staff had encountered fishing illegally had been from out of town.
"On the days we have been out, we've only found a small number of people fishing where they shouldn't be," she said.
"All of these people were from outside our region and were very apologetic once they had the rules explained to them. While we are pleased to find that none have been locals, we would like to reiterate that there is a fishing ban on the three protected reefs."
Dive Zone manager Tony Plank said his team had noticed things were definitely quieter, with virtually no other boats in the Mōtītī area when they are.
"I think it is too early to see a visual difference in the fish life in the areas, but we have enjoyed diving these areas when the weather and our customer experience levels, especially Astrolabe reef, allow," he said.
Council, iwi and research partners would be monitoring the reef habitats over summer to build understanding of how the protection measures were working.
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