by Hayley Dean
Targeted patrols undertaken by NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) fisheries officers in the State’s south west over the June long weekend have resulted in 122 offences being uncovered and 48 penalty notices being issued.
Fisheries officer examines an illegally kept female Murray crayfish carrying eggs
NSW DPI Director of Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton, said teams of fisheries officers worked in conjunction with NSW Police and Victorian fisheries officers to deter and detect illegal fishing activity and provide advice and information to fishers.
'Almost 900 fishers were checked by fisheries officers in South West NSW over the long weekend,' Mr. Tritton said.
'About 86% of those checked were found to be doing the right thing, however that obviously still leaves a large number of people failing to fish responsibly.
'Fisheries officers issued 48 penalty notices ranging from $75 to $500 for a variety of alleged offences including failure to hold a fishing licence, fishing in closed waters, leaving lines unattended, possession of prohibited sized and mutilated fish, taking crayfish with ova and use of illegal fishing equipment.
'A range of illegal gear was seized including 41 yabby traps, 17 crab traps, five fish traps, one drum net, 38 hoop nets and 26 fishing lines.
'Thirty-two illegally taken Murray crayfish were also seized.'
Waterways patrolled over the weekend included the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Edward, Darling, Eucumbene and Thredbo Rivers.
Mr. Tritton said that NSW fisheries officers will continue to target illegal fishing activity in these areas during the colder winter months.
'NSW fisheries officers will be particularly targeting fishers using excess hoop nets, illegally taking Murray crayfish and interfering with aggregations of spawning trout,' Mr. Tritton said.
'While most fishers stick to the rules, some still show a blatant disregard for our fishing regulations, and those found doing the wrong thing will be prosecuted.
'We all have a responsibility to follow the rules put in place to ensure the long term sustainability of our fishing resources for present and future generations.'
A summary of the recreational fishing rules are available at www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au and in the 2012 NSW Recreational Freshwater Fishing Guide. These free guides are available from NSW DPI offices, fishing licence agents and bait and tackle shops.