Fisheries officers nab setliners, trappers

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) fisheries officers have sent a strong warning to those using illegal fishing gear across the State after a number of fishers have been caught red handed doing the wrong thing.

DPI, Acting Director Fisheries Compliance, Tony Andrews, said three men have been apprehended after a routine patrol of the Gwydir River in the State’s north west uncovered a large number of set lines.

“Fisheries officers were undertaking a mid-week patrol of the Gwydir River when they found numerous illegal set lines where it flows though private property, near Gravesend,” Mr Andrews said.

“Officers commenced observations of the lines and allegedly witnessed three men come by boat to check the gear.

“It is alleged that the three men had caught three prohibited size Murray cod using the illegal gear.

“Fisheries officers seized the three Murray cod and 93 set lines with a total of 139 hooks attached.

“It is anticipated that the three men will now be charged and face court action for a number of offences including use more than two lines, leaving lines unattended, possess prohibited size fish, possess illegal fishing gear and possess fish illegally taken.”

Anglers are entitled to use two fishing lines per person in NSW inland waters. Attended lines must be within 50 metres and in the line of sight of the person who is using the line.

Mr Andrews said in another matter in the State’s south, fisheries officers apprehended two men after they were allegedly found to be using a fish trap to take Murray crayfish.

“Fisheries officers detected the fish trap in the Murray River, adjacent to a private property, upstream of Corowa,” Mr Andrews said.

“An extended surveillance operation was undertaken by the fisheries officers to identify the owners of the trap.

“It is alleged that after checking the trap, the two men tried to evade fisheries officers by discarding what is believed to be in excess of 15 Murray crayfish together with the fish trap into the Murray River, then driving away in a vehicle.

“The men were later stopped and interviewed and officers from various jurisdictions conducted a search of a property at Rutherglen where they located 13 gill nets, which were seized by fisheries officers.

“Both men will now face court charged with unlawful use of a fish trap, possessing fish illegally taken and one of the men will face a charge of obstructing a fisheries officer in the course of their duties.”

Mr Andrews said that the use of illegal fishing gear such as set lines, fish traps and gill nets showed a total disregard for the laws that are in place to protect our native fish populations.

“It has been illegal to use fish traps and gill nets in NSW inland waters for many years as they exert excess fishing pressure of fish populations and frequently trap protected fauna such as turtles, water rats, platypus and water birds,” he said.

“It is disappointing to see illegal gear being used to target our native fish species such as Murray crayfish, which have been listed as a threatened species.

“People who make the conscious decision to engage in this type of illegal fishing activity are warned that fisheries officers patrol any day of the week and at any time of the day or night.

“We will continue to target the use of illegal gear and bring offenders before the courts.”

Anyone with information about suspected illegal fishing should contact the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or your local DPI fisheries office.


A summary of the freshwater fishing rules can be found at and in the 2014 NSW Recreational Freshwater Fishing Guide.

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