Western Bay of Plenty fishery officers had a busy summer with a number of people allegedly caught with excessive or undersized shellfish and crayfish.

Jodie Cole, the Ministry for Primary Industries' chief compliance officer for Tauranga, said
fulltime and honorary fishery officers were out in force over the summer conducting commercial fishing and recreational inspections in the region.

"Given the large numbers of recreational inspections, overall we are happy with the level of compliance encountered.

"However, there are always some people who either fail to educate themselves about the rules, or hold the belief the rules do not apply to them."


Cole said among those cases of concern was a man allegedly found with 12 undersized pāua by fisheries officers while patrolling Pilot Bay on January 17.

The 52-year-old of no fixed abode, who has been charged in relation to this matter, had been summoned to appear in the Tauranga District Court on March 4.

The daily limit for pāua is 10 per person and the minimum size limit is 125mm.

Cole said other incidents of flouting the rules included people taking excess tuatua from Pāpāmoa Beach, some who received warning notices, and one offender was issued a $500 infringement for taking more than twice the daily limit.

Warning notices were also issued to five other people caught in possession of either undersized crayfish or snapper, he said.

"It was also a serious offence to provide false or misleading person details to a fishery officer.

"Upon conviction offenders could face a fine of $250,000 and also have any property used in the commission of the offence forfeited to the Crown," he said.

Cole said the public had an obligation to educate themselves on their obligations before they collected any kaimoana or went out fishing.

"Ignorance of the rules is no excuse."


Information on the Ministry for Primary Industries fisheries rules can be found at www.mpi.govt.nz or send a text free to 9889 with the name of the species.

Cole urged the public to call the 0800 4 POACHER line ( 0800 47 62 24) or email poacher@mpi.govt.nz if they see anyone breaching the rules or see anything suspicious.