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Illegal fishing crackdown in Sydney

ILLEGAL fishers have been targeted in a series of covert operations by NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Fisheries Officers in aquatic reserves in Sydney.

NSW DPI Fisheries Compliance Director, Glenn Tritton said 10 people have been issued with infringement and court attendance notices after being apprehended by fisheries officers earlier this year.

“Aquatic Reserves play a significant role in protecting important habitat and nursery areas to help ensure the sustainability of our fisheries resource,” Tritton said.

“Illegal fishing in these areas not only depletes fishing stock but also hinders efforts to protect threatened and protected species.

Fisheries Officers conducted a number of covert and overt operations in and around the Cabbage Tree Bay and North Harbour Spear-fishing closure as well as the Towra Point Aquatic Reserve during the day, and night. 16 offences were detected during the patrols including:
• failure to pay the recreational fishing fee – $200 on the spot fine
• possess prohibited size fish – $500 on the spot fine
• fish or spear-fish in contradiction of an aquatic reserve notification – $500 on the spot fine
• possess illegal fishing gear – $500 on the spot fine
• use a spear to take fish in scheduled waters – $300 on the spot fine
NSW DPI Fisheries Officers also seized spears and fish which were illegally taken and of a
prohibited size.

Penalties of up to $110,000 for illegal fishing apply under the Fisheries Management Act 1994. There are also provisions for confiscation of boats, trailers and vehicles when serious offences are committed.

Detailed information on fishing rules can be found in the NSW Recreational Saltwater Fishing Guide 2011, NSW DPI fisheries offices, the website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au and most bait and tackle stores.

Illegal or suspicious fishing activity should be reported to the Fishers Watch line on
1800 043 536.

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