You are currently viewing Visitors urged to respect rules over summer
Marine reserve offences, including illegal fishing, account for 40 per cent of infringements issued by DOC. PHOTO: PIXABAY

Visitors urged to respect rules over summer

Misbehaviour in marine reserves, breaches of the National Parks Act and people failing to abide by the Taupō Trout Fishery rules feature prominently among conservation offences, says the Department of Conservation.

As thousands of New Zealanders prepare for summer holidays, DOC has proactively released a list of enforcement action data and illegal incidents to remind the public to follow the rules when enjoying recreation on public conservation land and in marine and coastal environments.

DOC’s Senior Manager Regulatory Assurance John Wallwork said the department placed emphasis on its enforcement responsibilities, to ensure all New Zealanders could safely enjoy recreation in conservation areas.

“Part of DOC’s work is ensuring people enjoying Aotearoa’s native species and conservation spaces comply with rules to help protect them, and in a way that’s fair for everyone,” he said.

“When people don’t follow the rules, it poses a risk to our native places and species and puts these taonga at risk. It can also impact other people trying to enjoy their holiday outdoors.”

Illegal activity in New Zealand’s marine reserves spikes over summer – when many people are enjoying boating and other water-based recreation.

Marine reserve offences account for 40 per cent of infringements issued by DOC.

The most common offence in marine reserves is fishing, including the taking of kina and shellfish. Other offences include dumping rubbish in marine reserves or removing material such as sand, shingle or seaweed.

Fishing and sports fishing offences rank second and make up 10 per cent of all infringements issued. 

The third most common type of offending relates to people taking dogs into national parks or failing to comply with a dog permit. These breaches of the National Parks Act dog control laws account for just under five per cent of infringements issued.

Following close behind this are a range of offences under the Reserves Act. These include damage to a reserve, erecting structures, or having vehicles or firearms in a reserve.

For both national parks and reserves, DOC discourages people from DIY projects such as cutting their own mountain bike tracks or building hunting bivvies.

“We know Kiwis are great at DIY, but national parks and reserves are inappropriate places to show off your skills.

“While you’re out and about this summer, play your part by treating conservation areas, and our native plant and animal species, with respect,” John said.

“Follow the rules and report any illegal activity. Those breaking conservation laws could face an infringement, a fine or a prosecution.”