Proscutions pending for southern whitebaiters

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 15:22 11/10/2012
Southland Times photo
John Hawkins/Fairfax Media
Some whitebaiters have been flouting the rules in Southland during this year's whitebait season.

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Southland whitebaiters have been flouting the rules with the Department of Conservation disappointed at the number of compliance breaches so far in the 2012 season.

Despite the season running until the end of November, the number of pending prosecutions this year have already exceeded the number of charges laid for 2011, the department says.

DOC Murihiku compliance and law enforcement ranger Kelwyn Osborn said the department had seven cases awaiting prosecution with about six more files waiting for a decision to be made.

The department recorded five prosecutions for the 2011 whitebait season, he said.

''We are quite disappointed with the number of people doing the wrong thing.''

He was unable to give a reason why so many more people were breaking the rules this season.

The majority of offences were for exceeding more than one-third of the water channel width and fishing within 20 metres of any tide gate, floodgate, confluence or culvert.

The department had put a lot of effort in educating and informing whitebaiters about their responsibilities and most of them were glad to see the department out in the field, he said.

Meanwhile whitebaiters in northern Fiordland can expect a visit from DOC compliance officers in the coming weeks.

Te Anau DOC biodiversity ranger Lyndsay Murray said staff would be patrolling sites north of Yates Point, including Big Bay and Martins Bay areas.

The compliance checks would follow on from an education campaign undertaken last season, during which stand holders were approached and reminded of the regulations if they were in breach, she said.

Copies of the rules and regulations for whitebaiting were available from DOC offices and sports shops, or from the DOC website. 

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