Fishing for fines in Georges River and Botany Bay

7 Sep 2020

Two women allegedly caught in possession of thousands of oysters illegally retrieved from waters in Georges River Sydney are facing numerous prosecution charges arising from the apprehension.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSWDPI) Acting Director Fisheries Compliance, Dr Andrew Moriarty, said the women were spotted during a routine patrol on the Georges River in June.

“NSW DPI Fisheries Officers observed two people behaving in a manner consistent with intertidal invertebrate collection on the Georges River, which along with many other waterways in the Sydney region are closed to the taking of ‘shellfish’ due to historical industrial pollutants in these areas and to preserve fish stocks," Dr Moriarty said.

“The two women from Hurstville were apprehended and allegedly found in joint possession of 2121 oysters – which is more than 21 times the bag limit of 50 oysters per person.

“The offenders were taking oysters within an area that is closed to the taking of oysters, using prohibited tools to break the oysters from the rocks, and had not paid the Recreational Fishing Fee for NSW.”

A man and a woman are also facing prosecution after allegedly being found using an illegal 374 metre long monofilament meshing net in the Towra Point Aquatic Reserve in Botany Bay in June.

“After receiving an information report from the Fishers Watch phone line on 30 June 2020, Sydney South Fisheries Officers discovered a 374 metre long monofilament meshing net in the Towra Point Aquatic Reserve in Botany Bay,” Dr Moriarty said.

“A man and a woman from Belmore NSW were apprehended after being observed using the net and were found to be in possession of a number of fish.

“Meshing nets cannot be used by recreational fisheries in NSW and monofilament nets can only be used with a special permit.  Additionally, the taking of any fish is prohibited within a Sanctuary Zone.”

Dr Moriarty said the net contained Sand Whiting, Dusky Flathead, Yellowfin Bream, Estuary Perch and Leatherjacket and a number of rays. A total of 68 fish were found dead in the net and were retained as evidence and a further 47 were returned live to the water.

“Towra Point Aquatic Reserve is the largest NSW Aquatic Reserve and is located on the southern shore of Botany Bay in Sydney. The reserve protects one of the largest and most diverse wetland complexes remaining in the Sydney region and is major nursery habitat supporting commercial and recreational fish stocks,” he said.

“Fisheries rules and regulations are in place to protect and conserve fish stocks and fishing opportunities for future operations, and this type of illegal fishing detracts from all the hard work fisheries officers, and the community do to ensure access to fishing for future generations."

To report illegal fishing, call the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536 or report online via the FishSmart NSW app or at

Media contact: (02) 6391 3686