Routine patrol catches illegal fisher in the act

7 Sep 2020

A man allegedly caught in possession of almost 100 illegal yabby nets in Western NSW last month had planned to illegally sell his catch on the black market, NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), Acting Director Compliance, Dr Andrew Moriarty, said today.

“Blatant disregard for fisheries rules and regulations have serious consequences,” Dr Moriarty said.

“During a routine patrol, NSW DPI Fisheries Officers in the North West of the State conducted surveillance on a number of Opera House Yabby Traps set in the waters of the Warrego river, near Bourke.

“An adult male, 50 years of age was apprehended and found to be using 98 opera house yabby traps and was also in possession of approximately 106kg of Yabbies that were taken for sale.

“A person who takes fish for sale in NSW must hold a current Commercial Fishing License and hold an endorsement to take yabbies from the fishery.

"The fisher in question had not held Commercial Fishing Licence for a period of time and was not licensed to take yabbies for sale in NSW.

“The 106kg of yabbies, was returned to the water alive, while the 98 Opera House traps were seized."

The man is potentially facing a maximum penalty of up to $110 000.

“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," Dr Moriarty said.

“Following years of drought, our fisheries ecosystems are slowly recovering, but selfish illegal fishing can have a disastrous effect on fish populations."

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

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