4 Jun 2009

Fishing patrols to be increased

11:23 am on 4 June 2009

Joint Fisheries and Navy maritime patrols are to be stepped up to combat illegal fishing, paua and rocklobster poaching.

In 2008, there was just one joint naval patrol with fisheries, during which 11 commercial fishing boats were boarded.

The Ministry of Fisheries expects up to 40 patrols a year with the Project Protector inshore fleet, which the Navy says should act as a visible deterrent against illegal fishing and poaching.

The patrols will range from close to shore to the limit of New Zealand's exclusive economic zone.

The last of four vessels in the Project Protector fleet arrived at Devonport Naval Base on Wednesday following its maiden voyage from Whangarei.

Federation of Commercial Fishermen president Doug Saunders-Loder says the organisation will want to see results, as a proportion of fishers' quota ownership contributes towards the cost of the operation.