Trio found guilty of illegal whitebaiting in Fiordland National Park
Photograph credit John Bisset
The Department of Conservation welcomes the successful prosecution of three whitebaiters who were found guilty of whitebaiting on the Waitutu River in Fiordland National Park.
David Egerton, 54, of Otautau, Michael Egerton, 45, of Tuatapere, and Allan Rickard, 52, of Cromwell, were found guilty of taking native fish (whitebait) from a National Park and possessing nets in Fiordland National Park.
It is an offence under the National Parks Act 1980 to carry out whitebait fishing in a national park without a specific authority.
DOC principal ranger biodiversity Tony Preston, in a statement, says the guilty verdict sends a strong message that flouting the rules is unacceptable.
“Whitebaiting in National Parks without authorisation is illegal. The south coast boundary of Fiordland National Park is the mean high water spring mark which crosses all main rivers, including the Waitutu. Over the past couple of years, we have made a concerted effort to communicate exactly where that boundary is to fishers – engaging a surveyor, putting up notices in huts and speaking directly with fishers in the area. There is no room for confusion in regards to where people can and can’t fish.”