Commercial fishermen convicted and fined after set net blocks entrance to bay

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Two commercial fishermen have been convicted and fined after a commercial set net was found to be blocking off almost all of the entrance to Symonds Bay in the Manukau Harbour.

Members of the public reported the offending to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in July last year after one of the men was twice spotted setting and retrieving a commercial set net from a vessel in the bay.

The net had effectively blocked off more than a quarter of Symonds Bay.

The second man, who is the owner of the vessel and holds the commercial fishing permit the vessel was operating under, was not on the vessel on the days in question but admitted he failed to provide proper training or direction to his skipper.

Both men were fined $1,000 each when they appeared in the Waitākere District Court last week and the $20,000 aluminium vessel at the centre of the offending was ordered forfeit to the Crown.

MPI spokesman, Stephen Rudsdale, says fishery officers later spoke to the fisherman who said that he was aware of the restrictions in channels but didn't know the rules about bays. 

"MPI acted on the information the public provided us and this has resulted in both the fisherman and the owner of the vessel being financially penalised.

"This is a timely reminder for all commercial fishers to ensure they are aware of the rules around set-netting in bays.

"Once again, the public has been our eyes and ears around New Zealand waters and we are very grateful for the detailed information they were able to provide about the identity of the vessel and the location of the net. 

"Offences of this nature are very difficult to investigate and, ultimately, prosecute but our job was made much easier by the efforts of the public."

 Mr Rudsdale is urging people to ring the 08004POACHER line (0800 47 62 24) if they see any suspicious ‘on the water' activity.'

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