Guardians of Kapiti Marine Reserve are shocked and dismayed at the increasing number of incidents of illegal fishing in the reserve.
“To knowingly fish in the reserve is incredibly disrespectful to all those law-abiding fishers who respect the reserve and the conservation values it supports,” said chairman Ben Knight, who noted four incidents had been reported to the group in the space of a few days.
“It is also a huge insult to the wider community who support the marine reserve and wish to ensure an abundant local marine space for future generations to enjoy.”
He felt the reserve was “in crisis” with illegal recreational fishing, commercial trawlers fishing the boundaries of the reserve and the effects of sediment and nutrient run-off from poor land management “all taking their toll on this nationally significant marine environment”.
Jonathan Gardner, a Guardians trustee and professor of marine biology at Victoria University, said illegal fishing was a major threat to research programmes in the reserve.