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Think of other people, council urges fish and shell dumpers

19 Dec 2018, 3:04 PM

People misusing Northland’s precious coastal areas as a dumping ground for unwanted fish frames and shells are being urged to show a bit more courtesy towards others.

Ricky Eyre, the Northland Regional Council’s Coastal and Water Quality Field Operations Manager, says with roughly 3200 kilometres of coastline and some fantastic beaches and islands, it’s no surprise that many people flock to Northland’s coastal areas, especially at this time of year.

However, he says summer’s onset also often coincides with a spike in the numbers of people making life unnecessarily unpleasant – and potentially risky – for others by simply dumping fish frames, and the remains of kina, oysters and other shellfish on beaches and coastal margins.

Mr Eyre says while dumping of fish frames or shellfish is not allowed under regional council rules, it’s still a reasonably common problem, not just at beaches around Northland, but in other parts of New Zealand too.

“The regional council generally adopts a fairly pragmatic approach to the issue, appreciating that in some conditions (such as in deep, well-flushed waters) the practise realistically poses little risk to other beach users or the environment.”

However, he says when dumped in the intertidal area or on land nearby, including beaches, the waste can pose a potential risk to other beach users.

“You wouldn’t want to stand on a broken kina shell in bare feet, put it that way.”

Mr Eyre says overall, the vast majority of people do the right thing with fish frames and shells, however, there are always some inconsiderate ones who simply don’t appear to consider others when disposing of their waste.

“Similarly, dumping waste like this can affect water quality and attract scavenging stingrays and sharks, again posing a potential risk to other coastal users.”

He says disposal options include taking waste home and burying it.

“Or in the case of fish frames, you can take advantage of a group set up especially set up to ensure they don’t go to waste.”

A discarded fish frame on the beach at Whangarei Heads recently…the regional council is calling for people to show a bit more courtesy to others when disposing of unwanted fish frames and shells.

A discarded fish frame on the beach at Whangarei Heads recently…the regional council is calling for people to show a bit more courtesy to others when disposing of unwanted fish frames and shells.