Date: 12 January 2018
Since December DOC, assisted by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), has dealt with five separate instances of alleged illegal fishing in Pohatu Marine Reserve and Akaroa Marine Reserve, four of these in the first four days of January, and all involving residents from South Canterbury or Christchurch.
DOC Operations Manager for Christchurch, Andy Thompson, says it's fishers' responsibility to know where marine reserves are and to avoid fishing in them.
"Ignorance of the marine reserves, as was claimed by some of those recently caught, is no excuse."
"The location and boundaries of the two marine reserves are clearly marked on the DOC website, all updated marine charts and signs at all boat ramps in Akaroa Harbour."
Taking any form of marine life from a marine reserve is strictly prohibited and affects the recovery of the marine environment protected within them, says Andy Thompson.
"We will continue to work closely with MPI in our surveillance work out on the water this summer and take a zero-tolerance approach to all offending."
"We want people to enjoy Pohatu and Akaroa marine reserves and their amazing sea life and help us protect these places for the future."
Monitoring in the marine reserves is indicating the recovery of some fish species and results from this work will be available in coming months.
DOC is in the process of considering whether to prosecute those recently caught allegedly committing offences in the marine reserves.
Penalties for taking marine life from a marine reserve include fines of up to $10,000, three months imprisonment and possible forfeiture of boats and fishing equipment.
For media enquiries contact:
Fiona Oliphant, DOC Media Advisor
Mobile: +64 27 470 1378