After what happened to their dog Daisy, Janine and Martin Green of Millwater are warning dog owners of the dangers posed by long line fishing.
Watching their dog Daisy swallow the baited hook of a long line during an evening walk on Red Beach was a shock for Millwater couple Janine and Martin Green and resulted in an emergency operation.
The couple are angry that this type of fishing is allowed to take place among swimmers and other beach users, and warn dog owners to watch out for long lines.
Janine says that by the time they saw the motorised long line being set up in the middle of the beach, among swimmers and walkers, it was too late. All the hooks were baited and the line dragged along the sand to the water.
In a split second, Daisy had grabbed a piece of bait and swallowed it hook and all.
After a two-hour operation to remove the hook from her stomach, the dog is currently undergoing a long and expensive recovery.
Janine questions whether long lining is a safe practice on a busy beach, but the response that Hibiscus Matters received from Auckland Council is that it is dog owners’ responsibility to steer clear.
Bylaws and compliance manager, Max Wilde, says that Auckland Council does not have a specific bylaw controlling the use of long lines on beaches in relation to dogs, but that the Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw would come into force if a member of the public was injured as a result of a long liner.
“Beaches are areas of multiple use, such as bathing, fishing, walking of dogs, paddle boarding and boating,” he says. “Each person is required to exercise a duty of care and attention to ensure safety and to avoid creating a nuisance. During off leash periods for dogs the Dog Control Act still requires a dog to be under control at all times. If a dog owner notices long liners on a beach in the evening then it will be important that they keep a close eye on their dog around any possible hazards.”
Janine also called the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) who said they were concerned and had had other complaints about long lines. “They said their officers would keep an eye on Red Beach and provide information to fishers to not set up in the middle of the beach,” Janine says.
She says that as well as causing a hazard to dogs, the long liners were endangering others on the beach and in the water.
“I guess our question would be how would one go about getting the Safety and Nuisance Bylaw enforced and what are the penalties?” Janine says. “Long liners need to be better informed of best practice – which I would suggest is not planting themselves in the middle of a swimming beach while people are using it. Dog owners have to obey strict dog bylaw rules so why wouldn’t there be rules and regulations for people fishing to ensure the safety of others?”
She says she hopes that a section can be added to the bylaw restricting long liners to the far ends of the beach and requiring them to flag or mark the area. She also suggests that restricting the hours when this type of fishing can take place would be a good idea.
“Our dogs were in control. They were about 10m away swimming and playing when this happened. We had no idea that the woman was long lining. There were no flags, no buoys in the water – no indication until we were right there and Daisy had taken the bait.”