A group of recreational fishermen recently faced hefty fines totaling $10,500 after they were found guilty of catching an astonishing 348 fish in a single day, a glaring violation of fishing regulations, including nine times the daily limit for snapper. The incident took place during their fishing expedition in the Hauraki Gulf in 2022 and resulted in the group of five pleading guilty in the Manukau District Court.
The daily catch limit for snapper, a popular fish species, is set at seven per person, making the group’s excessive haul even more noteworthy. Fisheries NZ (FNZ) disclosed that their catch included a staggering 317 snapper, along with 19 kahawai, two john dory, two gurnard, six jack mackerel, one kingfish, and one blue mackerel. These fish were primarily caught around the Noises Islands.
FNZ officers discovered the massive catch as the group’s boat was returning to shore at the Half Moon Bay boat ramp. What made the situation even more egregious was that at least two of the fishers were aware of the size and daily limit for snapper, underscoring their disregard for fishing regulations and sustainability practices.
The individuals involved in this incident were identified as Tai ah You (46), Laupagigi Tupua Siliva (69), Lameta Kasiano (49), Metai Fialelei Lotoa (58), and Avia Amosa (55).
MPI regional manager fisheries compliance, Andre Espinoza, emphasized the importance of adhering to fishing rules, stating that they exist to protect fishing resources for everyone. In addition to the substantial fines, the group also had to forfeit their boat and trailer, as well as a variety of fishing equipment and chilly bins.
This case serves as a reminder of the critical role that responsible fishing practices play in preserving marine ecosystems and ensuring that fish stocks remain sustainable for future generations.