Please take a moment to read this important (slightly edited) report from our good friend, Chris Martin, who is the General Manager at Insite Security:
Last night (Friday, Nov 29th), we kicked off our Patrols of Omaha Beach for this summer and while it was reasonably quiet overall we had 2 separate encounters with illegal Set Netters at either end of the Beach.
For those of you who might not be aware of these nets, they are around 40 – 60m in length and are secured at one end on the actual beach. The far end is also anchored out at sea and is suspended in the water with floats (although the guys carrying out the illegal stuff normally remove most of these floats so the actual net is just about invisible from the shore)
The nets that are used by these people are known as gill nets and given their small mesh size kill any fish swimming into them as the fish is effectively drowned within minutes. Not only is this method of fishing very hard on our in-shore fisheries (read ‘decimated’ once 5 or 6 of these nets are employed nightly for a month or two) they are often left unattended for hours at a time and are equally hazardous to night time swimmers who are unaware that a net is in their path!
There is a total ban on this method of fishing from Labour weekend through to Easter.
As mentioned last night we encountered 2 groups with nets in the water. The 1st was around 9.15pm and involved 6 men on the Bird Sanctuary beach out from Walkway 1 in Ida Way. They had placed one net out to sea and were about to place a second when our Patrol intervened. Upon speaking with these individuals it was very clear that they knew what they were doing was illegal and they packed up and left with speed.
The 2nd encounter was about 20 minutes later and involved 3 males who had based themselves on the beach directly out from the smaller Surf Club Tower near Walkway 17. This group also had one net in the water and were about to place a second when our Patrol disturbed them. All 3 males immediately took off into the dunes to hide and only ventured back out when they saw our Patrol member begin pulling the Set net back onto the beach.
Inside the net were 2 sharks and a snapper. The smaller shark and the snapper were already dead however we managed to untangle and release the larger shark (about 1m in length) who then swam away.
With the arrival of more Insite Security staff at this incident, these 3 persons then ran away back to their vehicle and took off.
As we have no authority to detain these sort of offenders the best thing we can do is gain sufficient evidence for referral to the appropriate authorities.
If you become aware of this sort of activity occurring on the beach at night, please contact our Monitoring Centre on 09-5791567 and they will dispatch one of our Patrols to investigate. (Registration numbers of vehicles involved are a great lead for later follow-up enquiries)
NB the Ministry of Primary Industries advises:
“Report poaching, suspicious, or illegal activity – call 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can help us by providing:
- the location
- vehicle/trailer registration number
- boat name
- description of the person”