Illegal fishing activity detected, charges laid

Victorian Fisheries Officers will step up patrols in the northern end of Port Philip Bay after an increase in illegal fishing activity was detected in the area during May.

Fisheries Victoria Field Services Director, Mick Hodder, said the lower than normal compliance rate detected among fishers in the northern end of Port Philip Bay during May was extremely disappointing, particularly given the measures taken by some to avoid detection.

Five cases detected in this area during May, involving 10 people, are expected to proceed to court. In each of these cases Fisheries Officers patrolling the area detected a large number of snapper or bream concealed in boats or vehicles. More than 200 fish, three boats, a vehicle and 23 fishing rods have been seized through these five cases.

In addition to these cases, Fisheries Officers issued 19 on-the-spot infringement notices to anglers for taking undersize fish or exceeding the bag limit and issued 10 verbal warnings during May in this area.

Uniformed and plain clothed Fisheries Officers will be patrolling the northern end of Port Philip Bay over coming months to ensure anglers are complying with fish size and bag limits.

Those taking excessive fish jeopardise the sustainability of our recreational fisheries. Daily recreational catch limits are in place to ensure our fisheries resources are shared, and are available now and in the future.

Members of the public are encouraged to continue reporting suspected illegal fishing activities to 13 FISH (13 3474), which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Fisheries officers net illegal fishermen at Carrum Beach.

Two men caught illegally netting at Carrum Beach have been charged after being intercepted by Fisheries Victoria officers.

The two men were observed setting about 100 metres of net near the mouth of the Patterson River. Fisheries Victoria officers intercepted the men and retrieved the net, which despite being in the water for only five minutes had already trapped about 10 Australian salmon and several crabs.

Large nets, such as those being used by these men, have the potential to catch significant numbers of fish and are only available for use by authorised operators, such as commercial fishermen.

Daily recreational catch limits and equipment restrictions are in place to ensure our fisheries resources are shared, and are available now and in the future.

Heavy penalties, including fines of up to $10,000, six months imprisonment or both, apply for the use of illegal fishing equipment such as nets.

Report suspected illegal fishing activities to 13 FISH (13 3474).

Website: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/index.htm