A group of recreational fishers caught with a total of 348 fish, including more than 9 times their collective daily limit for snapper, has been fined $10,500.
The 5 fishers – Tai ah You (46), Laupagigi Tupua Siliva (69), Lameta Kasiano (49), Metai Fialelei Lotoa (58), and Avia Amosa (55) – went fishing in May 2022 in the Hauraki Gulf and caught 317 snapper. The daily limit for snapper per person is 7.
The group also had 19 kahawai, 2 John Dory, 2 gurnard, 6 jack mackerel, 1 kingfish and 1 blue mackerel, which they caught around the Noises islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The group had its catch inspected by Fisheries New Zealand fishery officers at the popular Half Moon Bay boat ramp.
The inspection revealed 7 large chilly bins filled with fish. At least 2 of the 5 fishers knew the size and daily limit for snapper, and there was also a fish measurer on board their fishing vessel.
They all pleaded guilty to charges under the Fisheries Act and were all sentenced in the Manukau District Court yesterday (5 October).
Tai ah You, who was skipper of their fishing vessel, was fined $2,500. The other 4 fishers were each fined $2,000.
"The rules are there for a reason – to protect fishing resources for everyone. This was a lot of fish, and 95 of the snapper were undersize. Some of the group said they knew the rules and others didn’t," says MPI regional manager Fisheries Compliance, Andre Espinoza.
"We would strongly encourage people to download the free NZ Fishing Rules mobile app which will provide you with the latest rules at your fingertips. If you follow the rules, you’ll be doing your bit for sustainability and avoiding a large fine."
Along with the fines, the group’s vessel and trailer was forfeited to the Crown, along with a range of fishing equipment and chilly bins. The Court ordered Tai ah You to pay a redemption fee of $5,248 before the end of November.
Fisheries New Zealand encourages fishing industry operators and non-commercial fishers to report any suspected illegal activity through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ 0800 4 POACHER line (0800 47 62 24).