Compliance near perfect

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Seized .. Fish & Game officer Hamish Stevens displays some of the rods seized from offending anglers over the past season. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A near-perfect compliance rate has been recorded for the first month of the fishing season.

With the high country season opening this weekend, Central South Island Fish & Game officers are hoping the good behaviour from anglers will continue.

Since October 1, 153 anglers have been interviewed with only two offenders encountered, one for fishing without a sports fishing licence and the other for fishing in closed waters.

High country opening is a popular fishing weekend and Central South Island Fish & Game rangers will be ensuring angling compliance and checking the condition of the fisheries.

During the 2018-19 season, which ended on September 30, Central South Island Fish & Game rangers interviewed more than 2500 anglers, and found 62 people offending, accounting for a total of 70 offences.

Most offences were detected at the hydro-electric canals near Tekapo and Twizel and the most common offence detected was fishing without a current sports fishing licence – 44 unlicensed anglers were found by rangers last season.

Other common offences detected by rangers were exceeding the daily bag limit, fishing out of season and using more than one fishing rod.

Central South Island Fish & Game compliance co-ordinator Hamish Stevens said that while the aim was for all anglers to be compliant, the fact that more than 97% were sticking to the rules showed current ranger efforts were having an impact.

In 40 cases offenders were charged and summonsed to appear in the district court.

Mr Stevens said anglers whochose to fish without a licence or otherwise break the rules could expect to end up in court.

“It’s a risk not worth taking and it is much cheaper and less stressful to simply get a licence and follow the rules.”