Heavy fines for illegal fishing
Three men charged with illegal fishing and abusing a fisheries officer have been fined a combined total of more than $16,000, Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said today.
The men, a 44 year old from Bermagui, and a 37 and 43 year old from Ulladulla were apprehended by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers in March 2007.
“NSW DPI Fisheries Officers from Batemans Bay conducted a search of a licensed fishing boat in Ulladulla harbour,” Mr Macdonald said.
“Aboard the boat, they located a large quantity of fish, some of which were taken illegally and subsequently seized by fisheries officers.
“The offenders were apprehended and charged with a range of offences, including unlawful use of traps, possession of fish taken illegally, possession of fish taken in contravention of a closure and unlicensed fishing.
“They were also prosecuted for abuse of a fisheries officer, obstruction of a fisheries officer, and failing to supply a name and address to a fisheries officer.”
NSW DPI Compliance Manager Glenn Tritton said the three men pleaded guilty in Milton Local Court earlier this month.
“The 44 year old man from Bermagui and the 37 year old man from Ulladulla were each fined $6,000, while the 43 year old man from Ulladulla received fines totalling $4,500,” Mr Tritton said.
“All fishers, whether they be commercial or recreational are required to abide by the rules. Most do, and compliance rates are generally high, however, there is a small element that chooses to do the wrong thing.
“These requirements are essential in maintaining the integrity and sustainability of our vitally important fish stocks.
“The fish stocks of NSW are a publicly owned resource, and we will continue to crack down on those who do not abide by the rules.
“Our officers work in a challenging and demanding environment and these penalties should act as a timely reminder to all fishers that it is unlawful to abuse, threaten, obstruct or fail to provide information to fisheries officers.
“All fishers have an obligation to protect the environment and our fisheries resources, and those doing the wrong thing will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Information on illegal fishing should be reported to the Fishers’ Watch Phone Line on 1800 043 536.