Anglers with no licence ‘commonest offence’
On the second day of summer, Eastern Fish & Game has revealed that while the commonest offence encountered remains fishing without a licence – officer safety measures in dealing with offenders have been stepped up.
The Eastern Fish & Game Region includes the Rotorua lakes district, and takes in areas including the East Coast, Tauranga, and the Rangitaiki Plains.
Top right: Checking licences Ngongotaha Stream, Rotorua.
Fish & Game Officer Anthony van Dorp says that around 98% of anglers stick to the rules, but every year about 80 people are caught committing 120 offences in total within the region.
Nearly half the number of people breaking the rules are caught fishing without a licence, while the use of illegal tackle and fishing closed waters are the next most common offences.
Mr van Dorp says that poaching during the spawning season is more prevalent in some years than others, and this is something Fish & Game works hard to detect using equipment such as hidden cameras.
Officers generally deal with only a handful of cases annually involving obstruction, “but we are certainly aware of the potential for violence from any offender, and the wearing of stab proof vests by staff is now routine.
Mr van Dorp notes that “those who fish without a licence or commit other offences impact on the experience of law abiding anglers, and on a user pays basis, impose additional costs on those who did the right thing and bought a licence.”
Mr van Dorp says that offences are dealt with in a variety of ways, including prosecution in court, and other informal ways as appropriate.
Last year’s precedent-setting case where a trout poacher who took spawning fish was jailed for 6 months remains the most significant penalty to date.
His co-offender David Pake Leef failed to appear in Court for sentencing and a warrant was issued for his arrest which to date, is still valid.
“If you have any information on Leef please notify us or the police.” Mr van Dorp adds.
Don’t forget to buy your licence!
Fish & Game now provides a range of new licences – including Short Break and Long Break to better cater for holidaymakers.