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Pāua poaching and other fisheries offences


Rules for amateur fishing

If you’re not fishing commercially, you’re allowed to take up to the daily limits stated in the amateur fishing regulations (see: “Daily limits for amateur fishing”).

It’s a criminal offence to take more than those daily limits. For small amounts over the limit you may just get a warning, or you’ll be given an infringement notice (like a speeding ticket) and fined (usually $250), and you won’t get a criminal record. For larger amounts you can be charged in court. If you’re convicted you can be fined and in some cases given a community-based sentence like community work, or even imprisoned in the most serious cases. You could also have your fishing gear seized and taken from you permanently, and also other property like your boat or car if you used it in committing the offence. For more information, see: “Charges and penalties for fisheries offences”.

Māori can take more than the amateur daily limits if this is for hui or tangihanga and they’ve got written permission from a formal representative of local tangata whenua. Permission needs to come from either the kaitiaki who’ve been officially confirmed by the Ministry of Primary Industries for the particular rohe moana, or if no one’s been confirmed as kaitiaki, from a representative of the local marae, rūnanga or other authority. For more details, see: “Funerals and tangihanga”.

What does “amateur fishing” mean?

Fisheries Act 1996, s 2 (“sale” definition), s 89(2)(a)

Amateur or recreational fishing means not fishing for the “purpose of sale” – but “sale” here also includes barter.

Some “fishing” falls outside these rules – for example, whitebait. On the other hand, some that you might not expect to be covered do fall within the rules – like eels and wai kōura (freshwater crayfish).

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Community Law

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Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Drug Foundation

The New Zealand Drug Foundation has a large amount of information about different drugs and their effects, and about criminal offences and penalties.

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The New Zealand Needle Exchange Programme

The Needle Exchange Programme provides and collects needles for safe disposal, advice on harm reduction, and is licensed to provide drug checking services.

Website: www.nznep.org.nz
Email: info@nznep.org.nz
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Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)

The MPI website has information about recreational fishing rules and customary gathering rights.

Website: www.mpi.govt.nz/travel-and-recreation/fishing
To report poaching, email poacher@mpi.govt.nz or phone 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24)

Want to know the rules on the spot?

The MPI have a free NZ Fishing Rules app that you can download by texting the word “app” to 9889. The app works even when you have no coverage.

You can also send a free text 9989 with the name of the species you are fishing for (e.g. blue cod or pāua) and receive legal size and bag limit via return text.

For more information about this: www.mpi.govt.nz/fishing-aquaculture/recreational-fishing/fishing-rules-for-gear-methods-and-species/paua-rules-and-guidelines

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