Big fine aims to deter threats to sustainability

flathead pieces found by authorities
A prosecution in the Bowen Magistrates Court has sent a strong message to the fishing community – bag limits must be respected to protect our fisheries.

A $10,000 fine has been handed down to a recreational fisher who pleaded guilty to possessing excessive quantities of fish.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Glen Harsley said the fisher was intercepted after returning from an eight-week fishing trip in north Queensland.

'The fisher was caught in possession of 2915 pieces of flathead fillet, when the bag limit is five, and 98 goldenline whiting which exceeds the bag limit of 30,' he said.

'This successful prosecution should send a serious message to fishers to understand the rules that are in place to ensure sustainable fisheries for Queensland now and into the future.

'Bag limits aim to conserve heavily exploited species and to conserve those that are susceptible to capture.

'They also allow catches to be shared more equitably amongst fishers and reduce the illegal marketing of fish.

'Respecting the resource means understanding and following the rules.'

Mr Harsley said if people were caught breaking the rules, they could be going to court.

'Breaching the size and bag limits is a serious offence and one which attracts fines of up to $100,000,' he said.

'Fishers who do the wrong thing could receive ‘on-the-spot’ infringement notices, for example, a fine of up to $400 for taking fish over the bag limit.

'A ‘bag’ or ‘possession’ limit refers to the total number of fish an individual can legally take and have in their possession at any one time – it does not apply on a per-day basis.

'This includes the fish you have caught previously that are in your freezer at home, camp site or in your caravan.

'We can all make a difference - ensure you know the limits by learning the recreational fishing rules and keeping a copy handy at all times when fishing.'

To order your free copy of the Queensland Recreational Boating and Fishing Guide or the Recreational fishing size and bag limits for Queensland brochure, call 13 25 23, or find them online where you can also download a copy at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au