A RECENT compliance operation targeting fishers retaining prohibited size kingfish in the Sydney region, has resulted in the apprehension of a number of fishers and the seizure of many small fish, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) supervising fisheries officer Chris Clarke, said this week.
While this latest operation was in Sydney, we hear through the fishing grapevine that Fisheries compliance officers have been active in recent weeks at renowned kingfish location Montague Island off Narooma.
This includes this past weekend during the Narooma ANSA fishing convention where officers were on the water out the island, which has seen preponderance of small kingfish lately.
The Narooma News is attempting to verify if any prohibited size fish were intercepted at Narooma or Bermagui recently.
“The operation was conducted last month by DPI fisheries officers in the Sydney North District after receiving information that there was allegedly a number of prohibited size yellowtail kingfish being caught by recreational and commercial fishers,” Mr Clarke said.
“Yellowtail kingfish are a highly valuable recreational and commercial species and are listed as a ‘priority’ species under the Fisheries Management Act 1994.
“Fishing in and around Sydney is currently very good, with lots of yellowtail kingfish being caught.
“The operation targeted fishers in Middle Harbour, Pittwater, Sydney Harbour and Blackwattle Bay and resulted in the apprehension of three commercial fishers and four recreational fishers and the seizure of 35 prohibited size kingfish, between 48.6cm and 64.3cms in length.”
The minimum legal length for yellowtail kingfish in NSW is 65cm and the possession or bag limit is five per person.
”Prohibited size, or “rat” yellowtail kingfish can occur in large schools off the NSW coast at this time of year and although great sport to catch anyone found keeping or in possession of these prohibited size fish can expect harsh penalties,” Mr Clarke said.
“Ten separate offences were detected including possess and sell prohibited size fish as well as the Master of a boat being fined for allowing an offence to take place . The Master of a boat commits an offence if they allow another person on the boat to commit a serious fisheries offence.
“They are all facing fines of $500 per person per offence.
“These offences each carry maximum penalties of up to $22,000 or imprisonment for 6 months (or both) for a first offence or $44,000 or imprisonment for 12 months (or both) for a second or subsequent offence.
“The work done by officers during this operation should be commended, considering there is always a chance that some fishers will dump illegal fish before being checked.
“It’s hoped this highly visible operation will increase public awareness of the implications of keeping undersized and illegal fish.
“Fisheries officers are regularly on the water patrolling especially on weekends and public holidays and you just never know who will be watching you or checking your catch.”
All information relating to bag and size limits can be found on the NSW Fisheries website at:
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To report illegal fishing, visit your nearest fisheries office, report online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/compliance/report-illegal-activity or call the Fishers Watch Phoneline in 1800 043 536.