Illegal snapper catch costs $800

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A man who swore at Victorian Fisheries Officers and demanded they arrest him had his wish granted and has ended up being fined $800 in the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court.

The 42-year-old man from Melton West was caught by the officers with more than three times the catch limit of snapper when he docked his boat at Altona last December.

The daily catch and possession limit is three snapper in excess of 40cm.

The court heard the man hid most of his illegal take beneath a portable stove and a jumper in a port on the side of his boat.

When asked to pick up a cigarette butt he had discarded he swore at the officers, threw his arms out in front of him and demanded they arrest him.

In court he pleaded guilty to exceeding catch limit of snapper, littering, and giving false or misleading information.

He had claimed at the time that he had not been fishing alone.

However the officers said there were no other people on the boat when he was intercepted.

Magistrate Bernard Fitzgerald said the fine would have been considerably higher but for the financial situation of the accused and the fact he hadn’t been before the court before.

He said it was wrong to take fish outside of the limits and this was obvious to a fisherman.

Earlier Prosecutor Sofia Jankovic told the court indiscriminate taking of snapper from waters such as Port Phillip Bay, posed a significant risk to the future sustainability of snapper stocks.

She said during spring and early summer each year, large snapper entered Port Phillip bay for the purpose of breeding and the daily limit was designed to ensure stocks were kept at a sustainable level while allowing recreational fishermen reasonable access to this fishery.

Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing is urged to call the 24 hour reporting line 13 FISH (13 3474).

www.dpi.vic.gov.au