New England fishers targeted in compliance crackdown
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A six week operation in the New England district targeting illegal fishers has seen a number of offenders fined for using illegal hand held lines and possessing prohibited size fish, Industry and Investment (I&I) NSW Fisheries Compliance Manager Glenn Tritton said today.
"I&I NSW Fisheries Officers have conducted patrols in the New England District on Copeton and Pindari Dams and along the McIntyre and Gwydir Rivers during July and August," Mr Tritton said.
"The officers checked a total of 15 fishers, with $4800 in penalty notices issued to 11 people reported for use of excess lines, possess prohibited fishing gear, mutilate fish and fail to pay or produce recreational fishing fees.
"122 illegal hand held and set lines were seized by officers, along with a yabby trap and three Murray cod and five golden perch in a mutilated condition."
Anglers are only permitted to use two hand held lines and must be within 50 metres of those lines. Setlines were banned in 2007.
"The regular patrols of inland waterways across the state are necessary to ensure fishers are complying with the rules for the benefit of everyone," Mr Tritton said.
"They must also ensure they comply with fishing rules and be in possession of a recreational fishing fee, before they hit the water."
Failure to pay or produce a current recreational fishing fee receipt incurs an on the spot fine of $200, while the use of excess lines can incur an on the spot fine of $500 or a maximum fine in court of $11,000. The use of illegal fishing gear comes with a $500 on the spot fine or a maximum fine imposed by the court of $22,000.
"All money raised from the recreational fishing fee allows money to be spent on improving recreational fishing, including restocking native species in waterways and educational and advisory programs," he said.
"Compliance with the fishing rules assists in the management of the natural resource for now and future generations."
Recreational fishing fees can be bought online at www.licence.nsw.gov.au, over the phone on 1300 369 365 or at most bait and tackle stores.
To report illegal fishing, contact the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536.
Media contact: Sarah McGregor 0427 075 167