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Illegal fishers target New England cod

FIVE members of a local fishing club have been apprehended, and a number of fish seized, after they were observed using setlines in the Namoi River at Wee Waa in the New England region of NSW.

Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Compliance Director, Glenn Tritton, said fisheries officers from Tamworth and Dubbo were recently conducting patrol activities along the Namoi River, Gunidgera Weir at Wee Waa, when a number of setlines were detected.

“Fisheries officers carried out surveillance of the location and three people were observed approaching the lines in a vessel and removing the lines and fish from the water,” Mr Tritton said.

“It will be alleged that the lines were baited with live European carp and Gold fish.”

The group were under video surveillance during their fishing activities.

“A search of their camp by fisheries officers resulted in a number of seizures, including a large 123 litre esky, 76 rigged lines, 51 live European carp and Gold fish,” Mr Tritton said.

Seven Murray cod, allegedly illegally taken on the lines, were also seized. They ranged in size from 58.8cm to 93.6cm.

Five men, ranging in age from 32 years to 60 years old were apprehended.

The men have been charged with using more than two lines, possess fish illegally taken, use live fin fish as bait, leave line unattended, unlawful use of net or trap, fail to pay the Recreational Fishing Fee and possess prohibited size fish.

“The men were issued a large number of penalty notices totalling $4,000,” Mr Tritton said.

“Fishers should be warned that the use of excess lines and live fin fish as bait is prohibited in NSW, and heavy penalties apply.

“It is disappointing when you see this type of behaviour from those who should know better.

“Fisheries officers will continue to target offenders involved in illegal fishing on our inland waterways.

“We should all be aware of the fishing rules and regulations and help maintain the long term sustainability of our fisheries resources for future generations.”

Report illegal fishing to the Fishers Watch Phone Line on 1800 043 536 or online at www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au

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