Kapiti Marine Reserve. Photo by Darryl Torckler
The Kapiti Coast marine environment is as subject to poaching as any other part of the country and MPI fishery officers say patrolling is an ongoing task.
The fisheries officers had a busy time over Labour Weekend, making a number of seizures around the country.
One example was around the Coromandel Peninsula where recreational fishers were fined around $4,000 over Labour Weekend for various fisheries related offences including gathering crayfish that were carrying eggs.
MPI fishery officers uncovered the offending while out on patrol on land and at sea on both the west and east coast of the peninsula.
Spokesman Jason Howat says around 400 recreational fishers were subject to inspections and some paid the price for committing a range of offences.
"In general, compliance with fisheries regulations was high, with fishers playing their part in protecting the fishery by sticking to the rules.
"However, 14 infringements were issued for offences ranging from undersized fish (snapper), excess and undersized paua, undersized scallops, undersized crayfish and taking crayfish that were carrying eggs.
"In a more serious incident, a recreational fishing boat was boarded at sea by fishery officers in Opito Bay in the early evening. The inspection revealed 132 scallops, 52 of which were undersized.
"As a result, the vessel and the dive gear used in the offending was seized and one person will face prosecution action."
Mr Howat says MPI fishery officers are always out and about over Labour Weekend so people who breach fisheries regulations will be caught.
"The result of the weekend's patrol sends a very clear message. People who choose to break the rules will be dealt with accordingly. There's not an endless supply of fish in the sea. We all need to do our bit to protect the sustainability of our fisheries for current and future generations and for the health of the fishery in general."
For more on the work done by the Guardians of the Kapiti Marine Reserve see: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GOKMR/