Fisheries message 'finally getting through'

Honorary fisheries officer Tangiwai Rewi checks the size of paua caught by divers at Warrington Beach (from left) Mat Popham, of Paraparaumu, Chris Anderson, of Dunedin and Tim Popham, of Warrington. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Honorary fisheries officer Tangiwai Rewi checks the size of paua caught by divers at Warrington Beach (from left) Mat Popham, of Paraparaumu, Chris Anderson, of Dunedin and Tim Popham, of Warrington. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

The message finally seems to be getting through to people fishing at a former Otago problem spot, a fisheries officer says.

Honorary fisheries officer Tangiwai Rewi said fisheries officers had been patrolling Warrington Beach daily since before Christmas, ensuring those collecting shellfish off the rocks or off the coast were taking the correct numbers and sizes.

Patrols were stepped up at this time of year because of the large influx of holiday-makers in Warrington, but fishing behaviour had been very good, she said.

''Compliance has been really good. Two thumbs up.

''It's awesome because the message must be getting through, finally. This must be the first holiday season I haven't had to take details so fines can be issued.

''Usually there are people who have taken too much or stuff that's under size.''

Ministry for Primary Industry fisheries officer Tony Paku said it was a trend which had been noted throughout coastal Otago.

So far this season, no fines had been handed out in North or South Otago.

He believed the increase in compliance was because of a nationwide advertising campaign which called for fishermen to ''Check the Rules''.

As well as providing website details, the ministry has

provided a new smartphone application which can tell fisherman how many and what size seafood can be taken.

It also gave area-specific information so there was no confusion, he said.

''We want fishermen to be more aware of the rules.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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