Man fined for illegally catching 12 tonnes of golden perch

A JOINT investigation by the Victorian Fisheries Authority and NSW DPI Fisheries has resulted in the most significant penalty relating to a freshwater species in Victoria in the last 20 years.

The investigation found that between 2017 and 2019, a 40-year-old man had illegally netted almost 12 tonnes of golden perch from the Darling River and sold them on 56 occasions for a total of $205,600.

The man was convicted by a NSW court for illegally netting fish from the Darling River and a Victorian court for selling them to a wholesaler in Melbourne.

In March 2023, a pecuniary penalty order was issued by a Victorian court for $205,600. In 2021 the man had previously been convicted and fined $11,000 by a Victorian court. A NSW court in 2019 convicted and fined the man $15,000 and also ordered the forfeiture of his boat.

Victorian Fisheries Authority Director of Education and Enforcement Ian Parks said that the joint operation has successfully disrupted and dismantled the illegal take of native fish from inland waterways.

“The unauthorised use of mesh nets is a danger to fish and wildlife, and seafood caught in this way can be a health risk to consumers. This remains a high priority for Fisheries Officers in both states,” Mr Parks said.

If you see or suspect illegal fishing in Victoria, call our 24/7 reporting service, 13FISH (133474), to speak directly to a Fisheries Officer. You can remain anonymous.

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