A Whitianga local has been fined $1000 in addition to court costs of $132, and all of his dive gear forfeited, after being caught at sea with over three times the recreational daily limit for scallops. Of the 175 scallops seized, 41 were undersized.
Wayne David McFarlane was convicted on 26 March at the Thames District Court.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fishery officers identified the offending during a routine sea patrol on 9 December 2012 at Opito Bay, Coromandel.
As sole diver, Mr. McFarlane was entitled to gather 20 scallops for himself, plus a maximum of two additional daily limits for the two safety persons onboard the vessel at the time. His full legal entitlement was therefore 60 scallops.
'We view this level of offending as just plain greedy,' says MPI District Compliance Manager Brendon Mikkelsen.
'Fishery officers will continue to conduct sea patrols and routine spot checks throughout the greater Coromandel Peninsula area,' he says.
'MPI is keen for the public and industry to report any suspicious activity in our fishery area by phoning 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are kept confidential if necessary.'
For further information about recreational fishing limits visit, www.fish.govt.nz.
Fishers can also take advantage of MPI’s free mobile services. Text ‘app’ to 9889 to download the New Zealand fishing rules smartphone app. By texting the name of the species that is being fished (e.g. crayfish, paua) to 9889, fishers will receive the size and limit number by return text. Texts are free.
by William Minchin
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6:39 PM Tue 9 Apr 2013GMT
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