Fisher Gets Big Fine For Setting Nets In Dolphin Area


Commercial fisher who set net six times in dolphin protection area fined nearly $12,000 

A commercial fisher who set and hauled nets within dolphin protection areas has been fined $11,900.

Following a successful MPI prosecution, Lance Edmond Nicolson (34), of Otago, was sentenced yesterday (25/1/22) at the Dunedin District Court on one charge of using a set net within 4nm of the coast, in waters off Otago on six separate occasions.

The offending occurred between 12 October and 6 November 2019, when he was fishing and was discovered through MPI’s digital monitoring, which tracks fishing activity.

“Set netting can pose a risk to Hectors dolphins. Commercial fishers have a responsibility to be aware of what the regulations are in the area they are fishing, and ensure they comply,” says MPI Regional Manager Fish Compliance, Garreth Jay.

“The rules are there for a reason and most people do the right thing and follow them closely. When they don’t, we will hold them to account.”

Mr Nicolson reported setting and hauling set nets six times ranging from 295 metres to 1270 metres inside the banned area.

The fishing vessel, Charlotte Rose, was forfeited to the Crown, along with set nets. Mr Nicolson was also ordered to pay costs of $2046 to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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You can find more information on protecting dolphins and on areas where set nets are banned here.

If you become aware of any suspicious fishing activity, call us on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 47 62 24) or email