MPI crack­ing down on seafood poach­ers

Coastal News - - Front Page -

A sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­ber of il­le­gal seafood sales via Face­book has prompted the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) to warn those of­fend­ing that they will face penal­ties for vi­o­lat­ing the Fish­eries Act.

Since the be­gin­ning of the year, MPI has re­ceived more than 160 calls and emails re­port­ing Face­book posts by peo­ple sell­ing recre­ation­ally caught seafood in­clud­ing cray­fish, kina and pa¯ ua.

That’s up on the 2016 where 96 com­plaints were re­ceived and the year be­fore with 57 com­plaints. MPI Fish­eries Com­pli­ance Man­ager Greg Keys says it’s likely that most peo­ple who are post­ing about seafood for sale know that their ac­tions are il­le­gal.

“This is sim­ply another ve­hi­cle that peo­ple use to il­le­gally sell recre­ational catch,” Mr Keys said. “That fig­ure doesn’t in­clude mul­ti­ple com­plaints about the same post so, in re­al­ity, the num­ber of com­plaints is sig­nif­i­cantly higher than that.

“Both buy­ing and sell­ing recre­ation­ally caught seafood, as well as swap­ping it, is against the law. These can re­sult in fines of up to $250,000.” Mr Keys says MPI ex­pects to see an in­crease in il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity in warmer weather. MPI fol­lows up on ev­ery in­ci­dent. “En­sur­ing and pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able fish­eries is a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Re­port poach­ing or il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity by call­ing 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) or email: poacher@mpi.govt.nz or use or main Face­book site www.face­book.com/ Mpigovtnz/

Use­ful in­for­ma­tion in­cludes: ■ The lo­ca­tion. ■ Ve­hi­cle/trailer reg­is­tra­tion num­ber. ■ Boat name ■ De­scrip­tion of the per­son. ■ Screen­shots of the list­ing.

All cor­re­spon­dence is con­fi­den­tial.

POACHED: A haul of un­der­sized paua.

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