by Hayley Dean
NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) has cautioned fishers to abide by closures at power station discharge canals after a number of men were fined for fishing illegally on the Central Coast.
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NSW DPI Director of Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton, said fisheries officers have found numerous fishers doing the wrong thing since the annual seasonal closure started at the beginning of May.
'At Eraring, there have been two separate incidents over the last month where fisheries officers have apprehended people allegedly fishing illegally in the warm water discharge canal near Eraring Power station,' Mr. Tritton said.
'Two men were apprehended on 9 May and another six men on 12 May with each issued on-the-spot fines of $500.
'Three fishers were also spoken to at Munmorah Power House after being discovered with fishing gear adjacent to the outlet canal.
'Fishers are reminded that the waters in and adjacent to the outlet canals of Munmorah, Eraring and Vales Point power stations are closed to all methods of fishing between the hours of 6pm and 6am from 1 May to 31 August annually.
'Individuals can face maximum penalties of up to $22,000 and or six months imprisonment for violating these closures.'
Mr. Tritton said that it is disappointing to see continued disregard for the rules associated with fishing in the waters around power stations.
'During winter, warm water discharge created by power stations attracts large quantities of juvenile fish, which these closures are in place to protect,' Mr. Tritton said.
'The closures have been in place for six years and the areas are well signposted with details on the locations and periods where and when fishing is prohibited.
'NSW DPI Fisheries officers will continue to regularly patrol the waters of the Central Coast, including the closed waters of Eraring, Vales Point and Munmorah power stations.'
Enquiries relating to the closures can be directed to the Hunter District Fisheries office on (02) 4980 9202.
Information on illegal fishing should be reported to the Fisher’s Watch Phone Line on 1800 043 536.
DPI NSW website