Illegal fishers face court

A MAN convicted for illegal fishing following a covert surveillance operation conducted on the Macquarie River last year has resulted in him being fined $4000, ordered to serve community service, and his boat and fishing equipment seized.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director of Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton, said fisheries officers observed three men illegally fishing downstream of Brocklehurst in October last year and the first of the offenders appeared in Dubbo Local Court.

A second man involved in the incident has also pleaded guilty and was due to be sentenced.

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“Fisheries officers observed the men using a number of setlines in the Macquarie River with which they captured and kept a number of threatened and protected species,” Mr Tritton said.

“The men were then apprehended by fisheries officers and police officers and their boat, trailer and vehicle were inspected.”

Following the inspection, fisheries officers seized 54 rigged handlines; four Murray cod, including three which were of a prohibited size; and seven eel tailed catfish, which are protected in western flowing waterways.

One of the offenders faced Dubbo Local Court last week and pleaded guilty to the following charges:

· Taking Murray cod during the closed season;
· Possess prohibited size fish;
· Harm fish of an endangered population (eel tailed catfish);
· Possess fish illegally taken; and
· Possess prohibited fishing gear.

As a result, the man was fined $4 000, ordered to serve 200 hours of community service, placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and the boat, outboard engine, box trailer and cooler boxes seized by fisheries officers at the time were forfeited to the Crown.

“This conviction sends a clear message that the use of illegal and excess fishing gear and the taking of protected species are serious offences and tough penalties apply,” Mr Tritton said.

“Fishers can only use or be in possession of two rigged fishing lines per person when fishing in inland NSW, with a maximum of 2 hooks per line. Further restrictions apply to notified trout waters.

“It’s against the law to set and leave fishing lines unattended, fishers must be within 50 metres and line of sight of their set fishing lines.”

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Anyone who suspects illegal fishing can contact:
· The Fishers Watch phoneline on 1800 043 536; or
· Lodge an information report through the DPI website:

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