Fishers land 'community work'

Three Dunedin youths proud of their catch from the Water of Leith now face ''community work'' with Fish and Game Otago for fishing illegally.

The youths boasted of their catches from the Leith and Lindsay Creek on social media, unaware they had broken the law.

Both waterways are closed to fishing from the Leith footbridge upstream from the end of April to October as adult fish are migrating from the harbour up the river to spawn.

Fish and Game operations manager Ian Hadland said an adult caught fishing the waters would be prosecuted and likely face large fines in the district court.

However, due to the ages of the youths - from 12 to 14 - Fish and Game, in conjunction with the boys' parents, had decided they should help out rangers and field officers with monitoring and spawning surveys, so they understood the damage their actions could have caused.

''They're mad keen on fishing, so this is an opportunity to work with them and explain why it's important.''

A member of the public had seen the boys fishing and reported it and then Mr Hadland found the photographs on the internet. Other keen anglers also alerted Fish and Game to the photographs.

''They'd probably caught about half a dozen between them by the pictures.''

At this time of year, it was tempting as there were many large fish in shallow water but they were there for a reason, he said.

''They need undisturbed time to do their thing.''

Salmon especially were not in very good condition at this time of year as they were putting all their energy into spawning.

''They're not eating fish at that stage.''

- rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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