Heavy fine for possessing protected fish: Macdonald
Please note - This news release has now been archived and may contain outdated information.
A Greenwell Point man found to have an Eastern Blue Devil Fish in possession in his retail seafood shop has been fined $2000 and ordered to pay $3,283 in professional and court costs, Minster for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, said today.
"This latest example shows how seriously the State Government views illegal fishing activity," Minister Macdonald said.
"The Eastern Blue Devil Fish is a protected species and the maximum penalty for taking or possessing this fish is $11,000 or 3 months jail or both."
Minister Macdonald said the man was issued with an infringement notice in April, but elected to have the matter heard in court.
He later changed his plea to guilty and was issued with the $2000 fine in Nowra Local Court.
Minister Macdonald said a number of rare fish are protected from fishing or collecting.
"Although populations of these species are not currently declining, they must be protected so that they do not become threatened at some time in the future," he said.
"Threatened species obviously have a higher level of protection and fines."
Mr Macdonald said that it is illegal to take, or possess protected species.
"If caught they must be returned carefully to the water," he said.
"Fishers must ensure that they are able to identify fish that are protected in New South Wales waters."
The Department of Primary Industries produces saltwater and freshwater guides contain this information.
They are available at fishing tackle outlets, department offices and on the web.
Media contact: Jason Bartlett, 0438 209 281