A Nelson man has been fined $1600 for eight whitebaiting offences committed all at once.
Ben Heinrich Jurgensen, 41, was fined $200 on each of eight charges of breaching the Whitebait Fishing Regulations 1994 to which he pleaded guilty.
He was also ordered by the Nelson District Court to pay court costs of $132.89. Department of Conservation (DOC) Golden Bay Area Manager John Mason said two DOC rangers found Jurgensen whitebaiting on Golden Bay’s Aorere River on 5 November last year with three nets, when only one is allowed, two of which were oversized.
“One sock net had a mouth perimeter of 14.4 metres, more than three times the permitted size of 4.5 metres. Another had a mouth perimeter of 11.4 metres.
“Also, one of the nets covered the entire 4.2-metre width of a tributary stream when nets must cover no more than one-third of waterways.
“Jurgensen told the rangers he couldn’t claim ignorance as he had with him a tide table book that contained the regulations.
“The Whitebait Fishing Regulations are in place to enable sufficient whitebait to make it upstream to sustain populations of these native fish and the fishery.
“Breaking the rules to try to catch more whitebait is not playing fair. It gives whitebait less chance to escape the nets and it can disadvantage other whitebaiters fishing further up waterways.
”Jurgensen’s actions were reported to us by a concerned member of the public and we are very grateful for the call. We encourage others who see people breaching the whitebaiting regulations to let us know by calling our emergency number 0800 DOCHOT/0800 36 24 68.”
The charges Jurgensen was convicted of were:
- One charge of using more than one whitebait net at a time.
- Two charges of setting whitebait nets with a mouth in excess of 4.5 metres.
- Two charges of fishing for whitebait within 20 metres of a confluence.
- One charge of not remaining within 10 metres of a whitebait net.
- One charge of using fishing gear that exceeded more than one-third of the width of the waterway.
- One charge of setting a whitebait net with an overall length exceeding 3.5 metres (the net was 5 metres long).