The actions of men who took a "domesticated" fish from a popular Auckland marina have been described as "callous" - but marina bosses say they are powerless to act.
Video appeared online of a confrontation between fishermen and outraged marina users at Gulf Harbour Marina on Good Friday, prompting a flood of negative comments.
The marina, on the Whangaparāoa Peninsula, is popular with charter boats and with families, who often visit to feed the fish that gather.
In the video the men are seen on Z Pier, which is used by charter boats, and are seen being confronted as they walk away with a snapper.
"Throw it back boys, it's a reserve," one person says to the pair.
"Nah, f*** up," comes the quick reply.
Gulf Harbour Marina is not a marine reserve.
As the man holding the snapper walks away he turns to the camera and says: "If I don't catch it, youse will catch it," before adding: "Yeah, that's right, tangata whenua here, Māori land."
An eyewitness wrote online that the men had baited the fish before pulling the sizable snapper up on a hand line.
The video sparked a fierce debate, with the majority taking issue with men's actions in fishing from the marina.
Taking the snapper was described as "lazy" and "disrespectful" by commenters.
"It's a d***head thing to do, but it's not a reserve," another noted.
But others suggested that passions were running higher than needed and said the men should be given the benefit of the doubt.
"The rules of the marina are no fishing, that should be observed, however if those lads are hungry, and will eat it, then I for one would look the other way," one man wrote.
Another contrasted the men's actions with those of boat users at the marina.
"Do the math. A well off guy takes his boat out with his wife and 3 children. They are allowed 6 fish each. That's 30 fish. They cut out the fillets and throw the rest away. Is that fair? I don't think so."
The post also attracted multiple vile racist comments, including from one man who said the fishermen "need a George Floyd on them".
Tony Sparks, general manager of Gulf Harbour Marina said the fish were a drawcard but fishing was "always a problem in the marina because the fish in the marina tend to become quite domesticated".
Sparks said they tried to strongly deter fishermen from targeting fish in the marina and said there was signage right around the area to that effect.
He said part of the issue with enforcement was that around one-third of the area was Auckland Council land, including the 'Hammerhead' at the entrance to the marina.
Z Pier runs alongside the 'Hammerhead' and contains the berth for the Gulf Harbour Ferry.
Although they could move people on from the floating structures, if people were fishing from the rock wall then they could only ask them to stop, despite the fact they have also placed signage prohibiting fishing in that area.
"If people just ignore it there's very little we can do".
An Auckland Council spokesperson told the Herald that it had signage up prohibiting fishing on the ferry berth at Z Pier and would act to remove anyone fishing there.
Sparks said that marina authorities had considered naming and shaming people taking fish from the marina but said: "You get into a very prickly situation when you make those sort of decisions and choices."
He said Z Pier tended to have a higher concentration of fish because it was where charter operators would clean fish and was also close to the rock wall, where members of the public often gather to feed the fish.
Sparks said the issue could make the "blood run hot" but said that, from a marina point of view, "there were no breaches of laws or restrictions that were enforceable".
"It's always been an issue," he noted, saying that "9 times out of 10" those fishing did so out of ignorance and moved on when asked.
"Every now and again you might get someone who feels entitled to do something that the public don't necessarily agree with."
"Fishing is fishing," he added. "This is like shooting fish in a barrel, these are tame fish. And literally within 50 metres of where these fish are there's the open ocean."
In the video, the men taking the fish assert their right as tangata whenua, saying the marina is Māori land.
A representative for Ngāti Manuhiri, Delma O'Kane, said the men's actions were "disappointing".
Ngāti Manuhiri's rohe on North Auckland's east coast includes Gulf Harbour.
O'Kane said: "Whilst the actions of the pair in the video are disappointing, they are not breaking any laws or rāhui as there are no restrictions at the Gulf Harbour Marina.
"However, the sea life in and around the marina are almost considered as pets and these actions were callous and unnecessary".
The marina is well known for its marine life and attracts visitors keen to see and feed the fish.
Locals were outraged in 2018 when beloved kingfish 'Murphy' was shot with a spear gun and butchered on the marina.
The man responsible later penned a heartfelt apology note to locals, saying he had not acted with "malicious intent".