Rotorua Fish & Game Officers have applauded sharp-eyed locals for their help - after a busy week of poaching call-outs – and dealing with illegal fishing.
In one of the most serious incidents on the day before the new trout season opened (September 30th), two Rotorua men were caught allegedly disturbing a spawning stream, and attempting to poach spawning trout.
Fish & Game Officer Anthony van Dorp says the pair were caught in a joint operation between Fish & Game and a Rotorua Police dog team. Police arrested one of the men when it was found he was already on their wanted list. “Would be poachers take note – this is not the first time we’ve joined forces and won’t be the last - we work extremely well together.”
“On this occasion no trout were seized and it appears their operation was fairly unsophisticated,” Anthony says. “However this sort of activity can cause huge damage to spawning grounds because freshly laid ova or trout eggs can be damaged or destroyed.”
The pair will both face charges over the incident, with one of the men also facing a count of giving false details to a Fish & Game Officer. Anthony is praising a member of the public who happened to be passing by, for tipping them off. It was a case of our ‘0800 poaching’ line working well – thanks to someone who was vigilant and took immediate steps to report what they saw, he says.
In other incidents, three people were caught at different locations along the Utuhina Stream that flows through Rotorua City’s urban area. They face further action in relation to a variety of matters, including fishing without a licence, and using illegal tackle. One of them was fishing in an area of closed waters which is closed during the spawning season to protect trout and their habitat.
Anthony Van Dorp says that the great majority of anglers who turned out over the opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday October 1st and 2nd, are to be complimented for sticking to the rules. Nearly 1000 anglers’ licences were checked over the weekend and three people were found to be fishing without current trout fishing licences.
“That’s a good compliance rate overall but we can’t help thinking how foolish it is to turn out on opening weekend without a fishing licence – when our officers are clearly out in force at all the boat ramps and on the water checking anglers.”
A reminder that while the opening weekend is now behind us, we will continue to actively check anglers and patrol a variety of locations, Anthony says. “The great thing is most anglers care for their sport and their resource and do the right thing; they are licenced, check the rules, and fish legally, and that is great to see.”