Fin clipping law unlikely

According to a news report in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, rec fishos in NSW may in the future be required to remove a fin from each captured fish they keep. 

In a plan to combat a thriving seafood black market for seafood and growing incidents of “shamateurs” illegally onselling their catches, fin clipping of captured fish is being looked at as a means of stemming the practice.

Premium seafood such as abalone, lobsters, crabs, tuna, kingfish and snapper are the main targets for the black market trade in NSW. 

Fin clipping of reef fish fin species by recreational anglers in Queensland was introduced to differentiate fish sold illegally by “shamateurs” to those of licensed commercial fishers.       

According to the Telegraph’s report the state’s illicit seafood trade – involving both commercial and rec fishers and organised poaching groups – is believed to be worth tens of millions of dollars annually, although the NSW Government has not revealed any official figures with Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald saying such information would only encourage more poaching. 

Glenn Tritton, Manager of Fisheries Compliance for the Department of Primary Industry, told Fisho that the introduction of fin clipping has been raised at various meetings but is something that realistically would only be introduced – if at all – “after a lot of consultation with the various stakeholder groups”. 

Tritton added that if fin clipping were to be introduced in NSW he believed it was more likely to be relevant only to “high value species” such as tunas – yellowfin and southern bluefin – as well as kingfish, marlin and snapper.









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