Illegal sale of blue marlin nets fishers $11,000 in fines

15 Jul 2021

Fisheries Officers from the NSW Department of Primary industries (DPI) are cracking down on the illegal sale of commercially protected species though increased investigations and the use of genomic sequencing for clearer identification.

DPI Director Fisheries Compliance, Dr Andrew Moriarty said the reminder comes after Fisheries Officers have intercepted the illegal sale of Blue Marlin at the Sydney Fish Market.

“Since March 2020, five Blue Marlin have been intercepted for sale across four separate consignments at the Sydney Fish Market and all identified as captured with the intent of sale,” Dr Moriarty said.

“The seized fish were confirmed as Blue Marlin, listed as a commercially protected species, through genomic sequencing conducted by Australian Museum.

“The use of this technology has provided DPI Fisheries with the upper hand when it comes to identifying these commercially protected species and it will continue to make our job easier.

Following these investigations, a total of $11,000 in fines have been issued to three separate commercial fishers for these offences under Section 20(3)(c) of the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994.

“Blue Marlin are pelagic fish, found throughout eastern and western Australian waters and depending on warm ocean currents, as far south as Tasmania and are considered vulnerable under the IUCN Red List, threatened by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

“DPI Fisheries currently protects Blue Marlin fish stocks from population depletion by prohibiting the commercial harvest and sale of this species.

“Fishers are reminded to take note of these rules and regulations and think twice before attempting the illegal sale of Blue Marlin.”

Under Commonwealth legislation, Striped Marlin can be sold in NSW under endorsement, however, the sale of Blue Marlin is strictly prohibited.

The public are encouraged to report illegal or suspect fishing activity to the NSW Fishers Hotline on 1800 043 536.

Further information

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