A QUICK call from a concerned member of the public to 13FISH recently alerted Fisheries officers to the illegal activity of a man from Kialla, near Shepparton.
The man was found to be in possession of 11 Murray cod at his home, with a combined total weight of 47.5 kilograms, with the Victorian maximum possession limit for Murray cod at five fish, or 30 kilograms.
In addition, five of the cod allegedly measured over the legal maximum size of 75cm, with the largest being 88cm long.
The search of the man’s property allegedly found 20 items of commercial fishing equipment, including two seine nets, each over 18m in length.
Fisheries Director of Enforcement and Education Ian Parks said Murray cod is a priority species which has been seriously reduced from its former range and abundance.
“Fisheries Victoria conducts an intensive stocking campaign, and significant efforts have been put into habitat restoration with money from recreational fishing licence fees,” Mr Parks said. “Anglers are reminded the daily bag limit for Murray cod in
Victoria is one in rivers, and two in lakes, with on-the-spot penalties for exceeding these daily limits ($455).
“In addition, while some accumulation of catch is permissible, breaching the state-wide possession limit may result in prosecution with fines of up to 200 penalty units and/or 12 months imprisonment.
“This possession limit includes any fish taken in other states, including New South Wales.”
Anglers are also reminded the minimum size for Murray cod is 55cm with the maximum size being 75cm.
Mr Parks said anglers are advised that commercial fishing equipment includes all items that are not considered recreational, and includes setlines, mesh nets, drum nets, and yabby traps.
Possession of these items carries an on-the-spot fine ($738), and the use of these items will result in prosecution, with fines of up to 200 penalty units and/or possibly 12 months imprisonment. Anglers can stay well-informed of fishing regulations by downloading the free Vic Fishing app for smartphones – www.vic.gov.au/fisheries and search Fisheries smartphone app
People are encouraged to call 13 FISH (13 3474) to report illegal fishing anywhere in Victoria, anytime.