Fisheries pleased with survey results

Three warnings and one infringement notice for fisheries offences were issued during a joint police and fisheries operation in the Marlborough Sounds.

Ministry for Primary Industries district compliance manager Ian Bright said the joint patrol, over six days from February 1 till February 6, used the police launch Lady Elizabeth IV.

D'Urville Island, Pelorus Sound, Queen Charlotte Sound and the Tory Channel were among the areas patrolled during the operation. Fisheries officers inspected 52 boats over the six days, including 42 recreational boats, four amateur charter boats and six commercial boats.

That was about half of the inspections expected to take place, Mr Bright said.

"Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worst on the second leg of the patrol and there were very few vessels out and about."

Overall the levels of compliance were very good, Mr Bright said.

Three recreational warnings were given during the operation, two for undersize blue cod and one for an unmarked float.

One recreational infringement notice was also issued for a blue cod over the maximum size of 35 centimetres.

"While it was unfortunate that the weather didn't play ball for the whole operation, it is good to see that the majority of people are following the rules and out there enjoying themselves on the water," Mr Bright said.

Senior Sergeant Dave Houston, of the Wellington police maritime unit, said 48 skippers were voluntarily breath-tested while out on the water.

The aim was to raise awareness about the dangers of consuming alcohol while driving a boat, Mr Houston said.

All the skippers passed the breath test, he said.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity in Marlborough can call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).

The Marlborough Express