Illegal fishers caught out on long weekend

A FISHERIES compliance operation conducted over the June long weekend in NSW has resulted in fisheries officers apprehending several people for the use of illegal lines and
drag nets.

Department of Primary Industries Supervising Fisheries Officer, Jason Baldwin, said the June long weekend was a popular time to go fishing, but not everyone was following the rules in the State’s north west.

“Several people were apprehended for illegal fishing activities along the Barwon – Darling Rivers from Mungindi to Tilpa,” Mr Baldwin said.

“A 61 year old man was apprehended on the Barwon River near Mogil Mogil for using 38 set lines. He now faces multiple charges relating to the use and possession of set lines and for possessing fish that had been taken illegally.

“In a separate incident another man aged 33 was issued penalty notices totalling $500 after he used nine set lines in the Barwon River.

“Fisheries Officers working between Collarenebri and Walgett intercepted four men who were camped on the Barwon River and had used 36 set lines and two illegal drag nets.

“One of the drag nets measured 15 metres in length and had been used to capture Bony bream, which is a native fish.

“All four men now face charges relating to the use and possession of set lines, the unlawful use of drag nets and the possession of fish that had been illegally taken.

“In another incident, fisheries officers patrolling the Barwon River upstream of Walgett intercepted a 62 year old lady and a 64 year old man who were using 15 set lines with another eight set lines in their boat.
“Both these people have been issued penalty notices totalling $600 in addition to formal cautions.”

The maximum penalty associated with the use and possession of illegal fishing gear including drag nets and the possession of fish that have been illegally taken is $22,000 or imprisonment for 6 months (or both) for a first offence. The maximum penalties specifically associated with the use of set lines, range from $5,500 to $11,000.

Mr Baldwin said the continued use of set lines or “droppers” by a small minority of people in the north-west is concerning and will not be tolerated.

“Set lining has been banned for many years to reduce the negative impact that it was having on our prized native fishes such as Murray cod and golden perch, as well as the unacceptable detrimental impact that it was having on protected wildlife such as turtles, pelicans and cormorants,” Mr Baldwin said.

Anyone with any information about illegal fishing or suspected illegal fishing should contact the Fishers Watch hotline on 1800 043 536 which is a 24/7 automated service or online at

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