Australia Day long weekend fishing blitz nets results in west
The NSW Government is reminding fishers in the west of the state of the importance of playing by the rules when they throw a line in this summer.
A compliance operation conducted by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers on the Lachlan River downstream of Forbes over the Australia Day long weekend has resulted in 31 fisheries offences being detected.
NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said the covert patrol conducted along the Lachlan River from Forbes downstream to Lake Cargelligo targeted the inspection of Fishing Licences, monitoring of bag and size limits, methods of capture and protected species.
“Twenty five fisher checks were conducted by Fisheries Officers from the 23rd of January to the 26th of January with a total of 18 people reported and 31 offences detected,” Minister Macdonald said.
“A priority of the NSW DPI is to ensure the ongoing sustainability and viability of the state’s coastal and inland waterways for generations to come.
NSW DPI Manager Fisheries Compliance Glenn Tritton said a variety of offences were detected during the operation including failure to pay or produce a valid Fishing Licence, use of excess lines, leaving lines unattended and possession of prohibited size fish.
“These compliance rates are particularly poor compared to the normally high compliance rates for freshwater fishers and officers will be increasing their presence in this area in coming months,” Mr Tritton said.
“Fishers should check they have a current NSW Recreational Fishing Licence and ensure they have it with them before they hit the water or they risk receiving a $200 infringement notice.
“There are serious consequences for illegal fishing activities with maximum fines of up to $22,000 and on the spot fines ranging from $200 to $500.”
Funds raised from the recreational fishing licence are placed into saltwater and freshwater Recreational Fishing Trusts and can only be spent on projects to improve recreational fishing.
A blitz by NSW DPI fisheries officers along the Murray River over the Australia Day long weekend caught 34 people fishing illegally at Lake Mulwala and between Boundary Bend and Wentworth.
The offences included fishing in weir closures, retaining prohibited size fish, exceeding bag limits, using set lines and not having a NSW fishing licence.
Penalty notices of up to $500 per offence will be issued to some of the offenders, while others will receive multiple penalty notices.
“Weir closures are in place to protect fish aggregating at the base of weirs and for the general safety in the area,” Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, said.
“It is disappointing that some fishers continue to disregard the rules and ravage the resource in these areas.”
Murray River weir closures apply below weirs 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 15 align with the line of yellow safety buoys installed by the managing water authorities downstream of each of the weirs.
The fishing closures also extend 50 metres upstream of each of Murray River weirs 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 15.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Supervising Fisheries Officer, Peter Tilbrook, said fishing closures also apply on the Lake Victoria inlet regulator on Frenchman’s Creek and the Lake Victoria outlet regulator on the Rufus River.
“The fishing closures also extend 100 metres upstream and downstream of both the Lake Victoria inlet regulator on Frenchman’s Creek and the Lake Victoria outlet regulator on the Rufus River,” he said.
“These closures also align with the line of yellow safety buoys downstream of each regulator.
“Signage is installed at each weir/regulator advising of the total fishing closures.”
Mr Tilbrook said fisheries officers would continue to conduct regular patrols, including the weir closures in a targeted effort to further reduce illegal fishing activity.
On-the-spot fines for non-compliance with weir closures start at $500, with maximum penalties in court of up to $22,000.
Information on freshwater fishing rules can be found in the NSW DPI freshwater fishing guide available from NSW DPI fisheries offices and most tackle outlets where NSW recreational fishing licences are sold, or online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au
Any information relating to illegal fishing should be reported immediately to the nearest NSW DPI Fisheries Office or to the Fishers’ Watch Phone Line on 1800 043 536.
More information about fishing rules and regulations can be found on the NSW Department of Primary Industries website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au