Fishing practice raises concern

12 April 2007, 8:30am

Maritime New Zealand is warning people taking part in a relatively new fishing method of the dangers involved.

Spearfishermen are coming from around the country to target Bluefin Tuna in the Hokitika Trench area, about 55kms off the West Coast of the South Island. Their vessels usually depart from Greymouth and head out towards the large factory fishing trawlers and attempt to catch Bluefin when they feed around the trawl net as it is retrieved onboard a vessel.

Maritime NZ says the practice is potentially very dangerous and is asking operators, owners and skippers to make sure they fully understand the risks involved.

Divers and vessels operating in close proximity to these large trawlers risk entanglement in nets and rigging as well as the more obvious hazards posed by the trawler’s propeller.

Divers should stay clear of the trawlers at least until the entire trawl net is on the surface and skippers should be aware that the trawler may turn, speed up or slow down or re-deploy the net at any time, so they must ensure that someone is always keeping a good watch.

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