Fisheries officers continue to enhance the overall effectiveness of coastal and inland compliance strategies in NSW. These positions form an integral component of the team of officers based throughout NSW. There are three staff based within the Port Stephens Fisheries Office. The area (or district) covered by this office extends to waters from Stockton Beach in the south to Seal Rocks in the north and westward to include the Barrington Tops to the northwest and Lake Sinclair to the southwest. This area includes offshore waters, the estuarine waters of Port Stephens and the Myall Lakes and any fresh water reaches of their tributaries (such as the Karuah and Myall Rivers).
Compliance officers use Operational Plans to target high risk offenders and known ‘black spots’. Operations are also conducted at key times at coastal and inland locations when large increases in angler activity are anticipated. All officers adopt a strong teamwork approach, with staff travelling to neighbouring districts to assist in operational patrols and at times of peak activity. The increased presence of Fisheries officers at these times is widely appreciated by anglers and the general community alike as it is an effective deterrent against illegal activity, and provides good opportunities to distribute advisory material and answer angler enquiries.
Compliance offices also ensure Oyster Farmers and other aquacuturalists adhere to predetermined standards when operating their businesses with regard to safety of the boating public, cleanliness and maintaining the condition of the public lands on which they operate.
Strict conditions are placed on any land works approved in riparian areas and compliance officers ensure developers adhere to these and pursue any persons undertaking illegal dredging or reclamation works.
Education activities are also undertaken by Fisheries officers via fishing clinics and other events such as the Tocal Field Days where an advisory display and numerous fishing clinics are run.