Disposing of fish carcass at sea

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fishcake
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while I've never had an incidence with a fisheries officer I've heard stories of people who've filleted all their fish on the water and been fined. I always gut on site whether thats on the beach, rocks or kayak. I usually freeze the frames and take them out with me next time on the yak or take them to the wharf or rocks and cut them up to use as Berley.
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kingiFiddler
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Thanks fishcake.
To be clear, the kingi was bled and gutted on said shoreline. Not filleted, no frames left behind or the like.

IIRC all fish need to be measurable above the high tide mark (but also on the water if needed) or we are really at the mercy of fisheries officers if for example, a kingi fillet is not over 75cm (although I'd like to see how that stands up to legal scrutiny in court - because the presumption of innocence would put the burden of proof on the prosecution, so if the fillet was 72cm, It'll be tough to convince a court the fish wasn't 75cm)
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kingiFiddler wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:21 pm Thanks fishcake.
To be clear, the kingi was bled and gutted on said shoreline. Not filleted, no frames left behind or the like.

IIRC all fish need to be measurable above the high tide mark (but also on the water if needed) or we are really at the mercy of fisheries officers if for example, a kingi fillet is not over 75cm (although I'd like to see how that stands up to legal scrutiny in court - because the presumption of innocence would put the burden of proof on the prosecution, so if the fillet was 72cm, It'll be tough to convince a court the fish wasn't 75cm)
Gutting on the shoreline is considered bad form these days, but it's not an offence per se. I think people assume it will draw in undesirable species. Carcasses wash back up on shore and are unsightly and can be painful if someone steps on them.

Fish have to be 'landed' in a measurable state and meet the minimum legal size or other restrictions. The definition of 'landed' can vary, but is not limited by the high water mark. For example, SCUBA divers are required to measure scallops and crays at the earliest possible opportunity. The courts have determined this is while still underwater. Arriving at the boat with undersized scallops or too many risks getting trouble. Likewise you couldn't sit at the low tide mark and sort your catch and throw the rest back.

Fisheries offences are strict liability. That means it's an offence simply to be in possession of an 'undersize' fish. Strictly speaking, 72cm is less than 75cm so the burden of proof would be on you (though you'd have to strike someone in a very bad mood to prosecute you if it was that close).
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kingiFiddler
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Doesn't strict/absolute liability pertain to not needing to prove negligence or intent? Surely they'd still need to prove an offence actually occurred and it would be interesting to know if there's any case law where courts have accepted a certain percentage reduction from the fish size limit will still mean a fillet size is legal, or if they've simple said 'the fillet size is less than the legal fish size so you're nicked son, pay the fine'.

Further, it's not an undersized fish, it's a part thereof. I mean, if they wanted to go that way, they should get the scientists to work out percentages and explicitly detail in the law fillet sizes instead of fish sizes and give the officers the power to compel anyone who claims they can get, for example, a legal minimum 74cm kingfish fillet from their 76cm kingi, to fillet the fish on the spot while said officer starts writing up the ticket.

If there is no obligation for a prosecution to prove an offence occurred, that makes the fisheries officer judge/jury/executioner/god. Absolute power without due scrutiny corrupts absolutely.
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kingiFiddler
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Got a reply from MPI and while no law specific to recreational fishos gutting fish on the shoreline, councils take their lead from the litter act 1979 when forming policy about local litter by-laws. That act has some pretty hefty fines for littering in a public place. Moreso if that litter is potentially harmful (broken glass, sharp spikes of a fish frame).
Casualtyward
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kingiFiddler wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:43 pm Doesn't strict/absolute liability pertain to not needing to prove negligence or intent? Surely they'd still need to prove an offence actually occurred and it would be interesting to know if there's any case law where courts have accepted a certain percentage reduction from the fish size limit will still mean a fillet size is legal, or if they've simple said 'the fillet size is less than the legal fish size so you're nicked son, pay the fine'.
If someone gets caught with a kilo of heroin, the police need only prove that it's heroin and that its in their possession.

I don't believe they're required to extrapolate the size, the only proof they need is that your fillet is less than the MLS... Though your example of a 72cm fillet is likely to get you a telling off rather than a prosecution, what happens when the fillet is 62cm or 52cm. Where do you draw the line? I think that's why the limit is strictly 75cm - saves lots of arguments and estimations.

There are conversion rates for some deep water species to help them calculate how much of your quota you've caught when you land a box of pre-processed hoki fillets from a factory ship, but I don't think they exist for inshore species or rec fishers. Scientifically they can calculate the size of a fish from the muscle structure of it's fillets.
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kingiFiddler
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How long before 'possession of a class A fish' lands rec fishos a stretch in prison?
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kingiFiddler wrote: Tue Apr 06, 2021 6:06 pm How long before 'possession of a class A fish' lands rec fishos a stretch in prison?
Judging by the penalties doled out to paua and crayfish poachers, quite a while :rofl:
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JohnnyR
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I went to a talk by a well known charter fisherman who promotes a well known brand of lures and he said they fillet all their fish on the boat on the way back to port
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kingiFiddler
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Makes sense. Just returning it to the sea where it would end up naturally any way.
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