Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Four men were fined in the Tauranga District Court today, after DOC staff caught them fishing in the Tuhua (Mayor Island) Marine Reserve in the Bay of Plenty last summer.

Date:  14 July 2010

Four men were fined $400 each by Judge Rollo in the Tauranga District Court today, after DOC staff caught them fishing in the Tuhua (Mayor Island) Marine Reserve in the Bay of Plenty last summer.

The men were interviewed and nine fishing rods valued at approximately $10,000 were seized, by DOC staff carrying out a routine patrol of the marine reserve, 35km off the coast from the Tauranga Harbour entrance. The $1400 bond the men had paid to the Department for the return of their seized fishing rods was also ordered by the Court to be forfeit to the Crown.

“This case serves as a warning and reminder that marine reserves are no-go areas for fishing. If caught, fishers will be prosecuted” says Tauranga Biodiversity Ranger, Dan Rapson, who apprehended the offenders. “People have a responsibility to ensure they know the rules and where the boundaries of marine protected areas are, in the same way that they need to know the recreational fishing regulations”.

The men, who all pleaded guilty, were caught fishing in the Tuhua (Mayor Island) Marine Reserve last February during the Whangamata Classic Fishing competition. The men had no fish onboard their vessel at the time, but they did have a number of fishing lines in the water trolling when approached by DOC staff. 

“This case underlines the need for the public to be aware that it is an offence to fish in a Marine Reserve, even if no fish have been caught”, said Mr Rapson.

DOC plans to continue its regular compliance patrols of the Tuhua (Mayor Island) Marine Reserve, especially through the summer fishing season and will be working with Ministry of Fisheries and NZ Navy on joint compliance monitoring. Under the Marine Reserves Act 1971 penalties for fishing in a Marine Reserve include up to three months in prison, fines of up to $10,000 and possible forfeiture of boats and fishing gear.

The Tuhua Marine Reserve has been in place since 1992, and covers an area of approximately three square nautical miles at the northern end of Tuhua (Mayor Island). It is one of just two marine reserves in the Bay of Plenty and thirty three throughout New Zealand, established to protect unique and representative examples of marine species and habitats in their natural state, so that they can be enjoyed by present and future generations through diving, observation and scientific study.

The Department appreciates any help or information from the public to assist in protecting the Marine Reserve. Please contact DOC’s Tauranga Area Office, ph: +64 7 578 7677 or 0800 DOC HOT (0800 36 24 68) with any relevant information or observations.


Tuhua Marine Reserve

For more information:

Tauranga Office
Address:   253 Chadwick Road West
Greerton West
Tauranga 3112
Postal Address:   PO Box 9003
Greerton West
Tauranga 3142
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