A joint Fish & Game ranger training and night-ranging operation held over the weekend of 21 and 22 January resulted in several sports fishing offences being detected at the Mackenzie hydro canals.

Twelve Central South Island and North Canterbury Fish & Game rangers were active at the Mackenzie Basin hydro canal fishery, with a focus on night-time ranging, said Central South Island Fish & Game compliance coordinator Hamish Stevens.

“The canal fishery is one of the most popular trout and salmon fisheries in New Zealand. Licencing and regulations are in place to manage and maintain sustainable fish populations.

“It is important we maintain a ranger presence to catch out those flouting the regulations and to deter any would-be offenders.

“It was great to have North Canterbury rangers down to join our team. We had an intensive coverage in place during the operation, and several anglers were checked twice.”

The rangers undertook 192 angler interviews of which, six individuals were found to be offending.

Offences detected included fishing without a sports fishing licence, continuing to fish after taking the daily bag limit, and fishing with more than one rod. Offenders had their fishing rods seized by rangers.

All sports fishing offences are criminal offences subject to the Conservation Act 1987. Prosecution in the District Court can result and may include forfeiture of any gear and fish seized.

“All offenders are currently being considered for prosecution before the courts,” Stevens said.

“We hope the result of the ranging operation serves as a reminder that sports fishing regulations and licencing must be adhered to, day or night.”