Illegal fishing at wreck targeted

NSW Fisheries is stepping up a campaign to target illegal fishing within an exclusion zone around a naval wreck off Sydney. 

The Daily Telegraph reports Fisheries officers will continue to use covert surveillance to monitor illegal fishing at the ex-HMAS Adelaide artificial dive site.

The wreck off Avoca Beach on the Central Coast has successfully attracted local reef species such as snapper as well as silver trevally and kingfish. As a result the wreck has become a favourite spot for recreational anglers fishing illegally at night.

NSW Fisheries senior officer Chris Clarke confirmed reports of illegal fishing had been lodged with Fisheries but said the true extent of the problem was not known.

“Over the last 12 months we have done (covert) surveillance and we will be continuing that. I don’t doubt it’s happening but as to what level, that’s another question,” he said.

The location of the dive site, about 1500m offshore at a depth of about 32m, is clearly marked with a buoy and small light, which divers allege makes it an easy target for recreational anglers looking for a quick catch.

Mr Clarke said recreational anglers faced a $500 on-the-spot fine if caught fishing or even in possession of gear within the exclusion zone.

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