Central South Island Fish & Game warns anglers to stick to the rules

Central South Island Fish & Game warns anglers to stick to the rules

Fish & Game rangers undertake a compliance operation at the Mackenzie hydro canal fishery. (File photo)

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Fish & Game rangers undertake a compliance operation at the Mackenzie hydro canal fishery. (File photo)

Central South Island Fish & Game are warning anglers to purchase a fishing licence and stick to the rules over the holiday season, or expect to face ending up in court.

All anglers fishing for trout, salmon, perch and other sports fish in freshwater are required, under the Conservation Act 1987, to hold a valid sports fishing licence and adhere to regulations.

Central South Island Fish & Game compliance co-ordinator Hamish Stevens said rangers would be active over summer.

“Anglers who choose to fish for sports fish without a licence, or otherwise break the regulations, can expect to end up in court.

“It’s not a risk worth taking, and it is much cheaper and less stressful to purchase a licence and follow the rules,” Stevens said.

He said anglers targeting sea-run salmon in the Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game regions must purchase an additional sea-run salmon licence and abide by its regulations.

“Rangers will have a focus on the sea-run salmon fishery over the coming months.”

Central South Island Fish and Game Compliance co-ordinator Hamish Stevens displays some equipment and catch seized from anglers.

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Central South Island Fish and Game Compliance co-ordinator Hamish Stevens displays some equipment and catch seized from anglers.

During the 2022/23 season, which ended on September 30, rangers interviewed more than 2000 anglers across 28 waterways in the region.

“Of those, 79 people were found offending, accounting for a total of 93 offences. Most offences occurred at the Mackenzie hydroelectric canals near Tekapo and Twizel.

“The most common offence detected was fishing without a current sports fishing licence with 42 unlicenced anglers found by rangers last season.”

Other common offences included continuing to fish after having taken a bag limit, fishing out of season, using unauthorised bait, being more than 15m from the rod, and breaching the requirements of the sea-run salmon season bag limit.

Honorary Fish and Game ranger Allan Gillespie checks on compliant angler Hans Van Leeuwen at the Ohau B Canal near Twizel in January.

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Honorary Fish and Game ranger Allan Gillespie checks on compliant angler Hans Van Leeuwen at the Ohau B Canal near Twizel in January.

Rarer offences included: obstruction, unsporting method, using more than one rod, providing false and misleading information to a ranger, exceeding the daily bag limit and using more than one bait assembly.

“In 30 of these cases, offenders were charged and summonsed to appear in the district court.”

The maximum penalty for fishing without a licence, and most regulation breaches, is a criminal conviction, fine of up to $5000 and forfeiture of fishing gear used.

Anglers are also reminded to check the sports fishing regulation guide and ensure they adhere to the regulations which can differ between various waterways.

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