Fisheries compliance enforcement

Fisheries Compliance strategies

DPI Fisheries compliance contribute to a range of national and international fisheries compliance forums to help develop strategies to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. NSW also serves as a member state contributing to the Australasian Fisheries Law Enforcement Conference and the National Fisheries Compliance Committee (NFCC).

One of the key outcomes emerging from the NFCC is the Australian Fisheries National Compliance Strategy 2016-2020 (PDF, 3245.8 KB). The Strategy complements the National Plan of Action against illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.

Fisheries compliance enforcement statistics for 2015-16

Client Contacts and Enforcement: All Fishery Programs (2015-16)

  • Around 57,000 client contacts were made (where powers were exercised / not including surveillance)
  • Around 4000 written warnings were issued
  • Around 2400 penalty notices were issued
  • Over 69 matters were successfully prosecuted, including:
    • 66 court imposed fines
    • 3 bonds (e.g. good behaviour)
    • 1 Community Service Orders

Seizures due to non-compliance (2015-16)

Over 60,000 fish and invertebrates seized including:

  • 25110 cockles
  • 9449 oysters
  • 7195 mixed shellfish
  • 2676 whelks
  • 2276 pipis
  • 1669 Blue swimmer crabs
  • 1466 abalone
  • 657 tailor
  • 616 Yellowfin bream
  • 511 silver trevally
  • 287 snapper

Over 2400 items of fishing gear/equipment including:

  • 1074 crab traps
  • 481 fishing lines
  • 307 hoop or lift nets
  • 143 yabby traps
  • 42 cast nets
  • 55 meshing nets
  • 38 spears

Most common offences (2015-16)

#

Legislation

Count

%

1

Section 34J(1) Recreational fisher fails to pay fishing fee FMA1994

1,583

22.97%

2

Section 34J(2) Fail to have official receipt in immediate possession FMA1994

975

14.15%

3

Section 16(1) Possess prohibited size fish - first offence FMA1994

915

13.28%

4

Section 18(2) Possess more than possession limit - first offence FMA1994

433

6.28%

5

Section 41 Harm or attempt to harm any animal in sanctuary zone MEMA2014

313

4.54%

6

Section 25(1)(a) Possess prohibited fishing gear - first offence FMA1994

213

3.09%

7

Section 20A(3)(b) Take fish declared waters - recreational fishing - first offence FMA1994

201

2.92%

8

Section 24(1) Unlawfully use net or trap for taking fish - first offence FMA1994

186

2.70%

9

Clause 45(1) Place/set net/fishing gear not identified in accordance with Regulation FM(G)R2010

141

2.05%

10

Section 14(1) Contravene fishing closure take fish - first offence FMA1994

111

1.61%

 

Subtotal of top 10 offences

5,071

73.58%

 

All other offences

1,821

26.42%

 

Total of all offences

6,892

100.00%

FMA1994 is the Fisheries Management Act 1994
FM(G)R2010 is the Fisheries Management (General) Regulation 2010
MEMA2014 is the Marine Estate Management Act 2014

Compliance Operations: Coastal (2015-16)

Numerous inland operations were conducted during 2015-16:

  • DPI November 15 (July 2015) targeting illegal pipi collection along North Coast beaches and illegal netting in the Manning River
  • DPI Papa 15 (July – August 2015) targeting illegal collection of rock lobster from the Batemans Bay area
  • DPI Alpha India 15 (December 2015) targeting illegal collection of rock lobster from the Crowdy Bay area
  • DPI Alpha Foxtrot 15 (December 2015 – January 2016) targeting illegal collection of shellfish from Lake Macquarie
  • DPI Alpha 16 (January 2016) targeting illegal collection of shellfish from Sydney intertidal areas
  • DPI Oscar 16 (March 2016) targeting illegal fishing in marine park protected areas during the Port Stephens trailer boat fishing competition
  • DPI Bravo 16 (March 2016) targeting illegal sales of fish leading up to Easter
  • DPI Mike 16 (April 2016) targeting illegal fishing in marine park protected areas in the Batemans Marine Park
  • DPI Sierra 16 (April – June 2016) targeting illegal sea urchin and turban snail fishing in the Sydney and Illawarra areas
  • DPI Tango 16 (April 2016 ongoing) targeting illegal fishing in Lake Macquarie Power Station closed waters
  • DPI Xray 16 (June - July 2016 ongoing) targeting illegal fishing during night time periods on Sydney Harbour wharves and foreshores

Compliance Operations: Inland (2015-16)

Numerous inland operations were conducted during 2015-16:

  • DPI Quebec 15 (October 2015) patrolling Monaro trout spawning streams during opening weekend
  • DPI Sierra 15 (October 2015) targeting retail outlets in the North West Zone
  • DPI Whiskey 15 (October – November 2015) patrolling Murray River and surrounding waterways during Melbourne Cup weekend
  • DPI Xray 15 (November 2015) targeting illegal fish traps on the Barwon/Macintyre Rivers
  • DPI Alpha Delta 2015 (November – December 2015) patrolling Murray River and surrounding waterways during Murray Cod opening season
  • DPI Papa 16 and DPI November 2016  (March 2016) targeting increase in fishing activity across all inland waterways during Easter 2016 long weekend
  • DPI Delta 16 (April – May 2016) targeting fishing activity in the Border rivers region and Northern NSW inland waterways over the Queensland 'May Day’ public holiday long weekend
  • DPI Foxtrot 16 (April – June 2016) patrolling trout spawning streams in the Snowy Mountains
  • DPI Victor 16 (June 2016) patrolling Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers targeting illegal capture of Murray Crayfish

Significant Court Results (2015-16)

Downing Centre Local Court June 2016

  • A commercial fisher was reported for multiple offences relating to the sale of rock lobster in Sydney. He was convicted and fined $25,000 and ordered to pay $4,500 professional costs.

Port Kembla Local Court December 2015 and February 2016

  • Two men  & two women who were found to be in possession over 100 blue swimmer crabs, 54 of which were prohibited size and 14 carrying ova taken from Lake Illawarra received fines and costs of $12,320.00.

Lightning Ridge Local Court October 2015

  • A man received fines and costs of $11,700 for using illegal setlines to take Murray cod in the Barwon River near Collarenebri.

Batemans Bay Local Court June 2016

  • A 50 year-old Batemans Bay man received $9,000 in fines after pleading guilty to spearing a Blue Groper at Kioloa and exceeding the possession limit of rock lobster.

Sydney District Court March 2016

  • A commercial fisher received fines and costs of $8600 for contravening conditions of a fishing concession permit at Coffs Harbour

Wollongong Local Court August 2015

  • A Wollongong seafood restaurant was fined a total of $7000 for failing to obtain a record of sale for fish. The business received for sale 126kg and 56.4kgs of Eastern rock lobster from a commercial fisher on two different occasions and could not produce any records to fisheries officers for those sales of fish. The business was initially given $24,000 in fines after pleading guilty to the offences, which were later downgraded in the District Court under appeal.

Gosford Local Court January 2016

  • A recreational fisher had an expensive day's fishing, with fines and costs totalling over $5,000 for illegally taking 14 Rock Lobsters from Terrigal Haven on the NSW Central Coast.

Fishers Watch (2015-16)

3915 Fishers Watch calls were logged

  • Top telephone exchanges were Sydney, Gosford and Newcastle
  • Most popular days: Saturday, Sunday and Monday
  • Most popular time: around midday
  • Mobile phone is the most popular connection device
  • 409 web-based reports

Images of Fisheries Officer Compliance Activity

Seized hairtail fish (Newcastle Harbour) on ground
Fisheries Officer and children holding sea urchins, parents standing in background
Seized Blue Groper on ground
Fisheries Officer measuring a Murray Crayfish (South Western NSW) on grass
Fisheries Officer counting seized shellfish on grass
Seized Silver Perch (near Euston in Far West NSW) on ground
Three piles of seized mesh nets on sitting on tarpaulins on the ground
Paddle boat on the bank of the Lachlan River (NSW Central West) filled with seized fishing lines and cast nets
Fisheries Officer erecting a crab trapping sign on a metal pole
Fisheries Officer in a room speaking at an information session (NSW North Coast)
Seized cast nets, various fish and two buckets on the grass
Seized lobsters and dive gear from Terrigal (NSW Central Coast) on the ground
Seized mud crabs in plastic box from the Sandon River (NSW Far North Coast)
Fisheries Officer counting seized cockles from Sydney Harbour
Seized Blue swimmer crabs from the Shoalhaven area (NSW South CoasT) on grass
Four plastic crates of seized prawns from the Shoalhaven area (NSW South Coast)
Seized hairtail fish (Newcastle Harbour) on ground
Fisheries Officer and children holding sea urchins, parents standing in background
Seized Blue Groper on ground
Fisheries Officer measuring a Murray Crayfish (South Western NSW) on grass
Fisheries Officer counting seized shellfish on grass
Seized Silver Perch (near Euston in Far West NSW) on ground
Three piles of seized mesh nets on sitting on tarpaulins on the ground
Paddle boat on the bank of the Lachlan River (NSW Central West) filled with seized fishing lines and cast nets
Fisheries Officer erecting a crab trapping sign on a metal pole
Fisheries Officer in a room speaking at an information session (NSW North Coast)
Seized cast nets, various fish and two buckets on the grass
Seized lobsters and dive gear from Terrigal (NSW Central Coast) on the ground
Seized mud crabs in plastic box from the Sandon River (NSW Far North Coast)
Fisheries Officer counting seized cockles from Sydney Harbour
Seized Blue swimmer crabs from the Shoalhaven area (NSW South CoasT) on grass
Four plastic crates of seized prawns from the Shoalhaven area (NSW South Coast)

Past enforcement information