Fish and chip shop alleged to have bought fish from rec fisherman

Image: PIRSA

AN alleged under-the-counter fish deal could prove very expensive for the owners of a fish and chip shop on the Mornington Peninsula.

Mornington Fisheries Officers have conducted inspections at several retail fish outlets on the Peninsula this month.

The inspections, based on previous intelligence, were designed to remind the owners they must buy and use legally caught seafood products.

In one case it will be alleged the fish and chip shop owner acquired King George Whiting for sale, from a recreational fishing licence holder.

The maximum penalty for that offence is a $30,000 fine, or 12 months imprisonment, or both.

Director of Fisheries Education and Enforcement, Ian Parks, said although the charges related to a relatively small quantity of fish they served to reinforce the message that recreational anglers are prohibited from selling their catch.

“Retail outlets can only purchase fish from legitimate sources. Clandestine deals like we are alleging here, undermine commercial fishers and compromise food safety standards,” Parks said.

“We want to warn all anglers that as well as regular patrols on Victoria’s waterways, our officers will be increasing their focus on retail fish outlets over the coming months.

Fisheries Officers have the power to inspect commercial and retail seafood premises and demand records of fish transactions. Seafood retailers and wholesalers who are unable to establish that fish on their premises were lawfully obtained through proper records face significant penalties.

Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing activity is urged to call the 24 hour reporting line 13 FISH (13 3474)

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