A 43-year-old commercial fisher from Ulladulla is facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines and possible imprisonment after allegedly being caught trawling through the Batemans Marine Park, during the October long weekend, Glenn Tritton, Director Fisheries Compliance, said today.
“Fisheries and Marine Park officers from the south coast were out in force over the October long weekend as part of Operation DPI X-ray 13, targeting people fishing from vessels in the Brush Island and Murramarang Sanctuary Zones and land based fishing in the Murramarang Special Purpose Zone of the Batemans Marine Park,” Mr Tritton said.
“The commercial fishing vessel was apprehended trawling approximately four kilometres south-south east of Brush Island, within the General Use Zone of the Batemans Marine Park. Trawling has been prohibited within all zones of the Batemans Marine Park since 2007.
“Fisheries and Marine Park Officers boarded the vessel and ordered it to retrieve the net and return to port at Ulladulla.
“The net was found to have approximately 200 kilograms of fish including ling, tiger flathead and sand flathead.
“Fisheries officers seized the cod end portion of the net and the catch and were able to return more than 130 kilograms of fish to the water, while the remaining 65kg of fish were able to be sold.
“Unregulated trawling is known to cause damage to sensitive reef habitats as well as devastating impacts on by catch.”
The man will be issued Court Attendance Notices for fishing in a sanctuary zone, possession of fishing gear capable of taking fish in a sanctuary zone, taking fish by method of trawling in Batemans Marine Park, harming fish in a sanctuary zone, possessing fish that has been taken in contravention of Marine Parks (Zoning Plan) Regulation 1999 by trawling in the Marine Park and unlawfully using a net with rubber bobbins that were greater than 100mm in diameter.
The maximum combined penalties total $132,000 in fines and/or 12 months imprisonment.
Fisheries and Marine Park officers also detected another 44 offences over the course of the long weekend including 32 people found fishing in the sanctuary zones, fishers found fishing without a recreational fishing fee, failing to have a recreational fishing fee in their possession and being in possession of rigged fishing gear in a sanctuary zone.
Officers also seized a number of fish illegally taken in a sanctuary zone, which were returned to the water alive.
“Fishers are reminded to make sure they’re aware of the fishing rules and regulations before they go fishing. Batemans Marine Park signs are displayed at most boat ramps, and maps are available from DPI Fisheries Offices, Batemans Marine Park office at Narooma, fishing tackle shops, tourist information centres and online at http://www.mpa.nsw.gov.au/bmp.html,” Mr Tritton said.
“A number of patrols were also conducted across inland waters during the long weekend. Fisheries officers from Bathurst and Dubbo conducted patrol activities along the Lachlan and Macquarie Rivers and Lake Cowal
“A number of fishers were apprehended including a commercial fisher and a recreational fisher at Lake Cowal for failing to mark their set yabby traps correctly, a 60 year old man from Pomona in NSW in possession of yabbies carrying ova (eggs) externally and a 36 year old man from Euabalong West in possession of 9 excess lines in his vessel.”
Fisheries Officers also found and seized 10 illegal fish traps on a property near Kiacatoo downstream of Condobolin, and will continue to target offenders using this illegal equipment.
Other seizures include 10 fish traps, 9 rigged lines, 2 Murray Cod (52cm and 53cm in length) and 1 Silver Perch.
“Fishers should be aware that the use of excess lines and fish traps are prohibited in NSW and that heavy penalties apply,” Mr Tritton said.
“Fishers are also reminded to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee and ensure they carry a valid receipt (fishing licence) with them at all times while fishing, diving or collecting or face a $200 on the spot fine, or a penalty of $75 if you do not have the licence in your immediate possession.”