With summer just around the corner, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) local fishery officers Howard Reid and Mark Green will be out on the water and patrolling the Kaikoura beaches and boat ramps.
Howard says that while they will be inspecting recreational catches, pots, and gear, they are also there to educate fishermen about fish limits and the importance of sustaining our fisheries.
"A lot of our work involves educating the community about the fishing rules that apply to their area.
"This also includes appropriate and safe handling of fish that are either kept or released."
As well as dealing with compliant fishermen, Howard and Mark also come across poachers and fishermen who choose to breach fishing rules.
"Crayfish, paua, and blue cod are some of the most popular species for fishers in Kaikoura."
Unfortunately these also tend to be three species which are common for poachers. Infringement notices of $250 to $500 for each offence can be imposed on those who break the rules.
Serious breaches could result in prosecution, along with confiscation of dive gear, boats, and vehicles. Poaching will not be tolerated.
"Fishers need to ensure they comply with fishing regulations.
"They are there to protect and sustain our fish stocks so everyone can enjoy them."
Mark and Howard have also been meeting local community groups to work together for a healthy, sustainable fishery for the enjoyment of all.
"Support from the community is invaluable in protecting our fishery.
"By working together we can prevent poachers and opportunists from abusing and illegally benefiting from fish stocks," Howard says.
Fishery officers are also responsible for monitoring commercial fishing, from where the fish comes out of the water to where it is being cooked in restaurants and cafes.
Kaikoura comes under the South East Fishery Management Area, from Clarence Point in the north down the east coast to Slope Point south of Dunedin.
Information on fishing rules and regulations for this area is widely available and can be found on the MPI website, brochures at your local fisheries office, or by contacting your local fishery officer.
You can also take advantage of the free mobile services. Text "app" to 9889 to download the New Zealand fishing rules smartphone app.
Or you can text the name of the species you are fishing for (for example, blue cod, crayfish, paua) to 9889 and you will receive the size and limit number by return text. Texts are free.
"Remember to check the fishing rules that apply to your area before you get out there. If you have a question about catch or bag limits or about the South East Area fishing rules, please come and have a chat to us. We are more than happy to help."
If you see any kind of suspicious fishing activity, report it by calling 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224). All calls are confidential. For further information about recreational fishing limits visit fish.govt.nz.
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