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.Compliance - Commercial fishing fact sheet (PDF, 48.43 KB)

Fisheries compliance enforcement statistics for 2016-17

Client Contacts and Enforcement: All Fishery Programs (2016-17)

  • Around 52,000 client contacts were made (where powers were exercised / not including surveillance)
  • Around 4,000 written warnings were issued
  • Around 2,500 penalty notices were issued
  • 94 matters were successfully prosecuted, including;
    • 76 court imposed fines
    • 4 gaol sentences (2 individuals – 1 suspended, 1 converted to Intensive Corrections Order)
    • 14 bonds (e.g. good behaviour)

Seizures due to non-compliance (2016-17)

Over 48,000 fish and invertebrates seized including:

  • 19291 Cockles
  • 5705 Abalone
  • 3233 Tiger Flathead
  • 2029 Saltwater Nippers
  • 1632 Turban Snails
  • 1533 Pipi
  • 1274 Sea Urchin
  • 859 Whelks
  • 695 Oysters
  • 617 Tailor
  • 583 Yellowfin bream
  • 398 Snapper
  • 396 Mud crabsOver 3,000 items of fishing gear/equipment including:
  • 1314 crab traps
  • 642 fishing lines
  • 399 hoop or lift nets
  • 134 yabby traps
  • 43 spears
  • 41 fish traps
  • 40 lobster traps
  • 39 cast nets
  • 32 meshing nets

Most common offences (2016-17)

#

Program

Count

%

1

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

1567

22.67%

2

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

1028

14.87%

3

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

866

12.53%

4

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

327

4.73%

5

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

258

3.73%

6

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

257

3.72%

7

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

200

2.89%

8

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

195

2.82%

9

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

173

2.50%

10

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

115

1.66%

 

Subtotal of top programs

4986

72.15%

 

All other programs

1925

27.85%

 

Total of all programs

6911

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 (2016-17)

Coastal operations conducted during 2016-17:

  • DPI Alpha November 16 (October 2016 ongoing) targeting illegal fishing in the Fish Rock & Green Island Greynurse Shark Critical Habitat Zones on the North Coast
  • DPI Alpha Quebec 16 (December 2016) targeting illegal fishing on Sydney Harbour ferry wharves
  • DPI Alpha Sierra 16 (December 2016 – January 2017) targeting illegal activity over Christmas – New Year holiday period in the Batemans Marine Park
  • DPI Bravo 17 (January 2017) targeting unlawful collection of invertebrates from rock platforms and mud flats across NSW coastal areas during Australia Day long weekend
  • DPI Lima 17 (April 2017) targeting illegal sales of abalone and rock lobster in the Sydney region
  • Portunus (December 2016 to May 2017) targeting unlawful crab trapping and netting across all coastal areas

Compliance Operations: Inland (2016-17)

Inland operations conducted during 2016-17:

  • DPI Alpha Charlie 16 (August 2016) patrolling the Namoi and Peel Rivers and tributaries during the week of Ag Quip in Tamworth
  • DPI Alpha Echo 16 (August 2016) patrolling the Murray River and surrounding waterways
  • DPI Alpha Hotel 16 (October 2016) patrolling the Gwydir River and surrounding waterways over the October long weekend
  • DPI Alpha Juliet 16 (October 2016) patrolling trout rivers and streams in the Snowy Mountains during opening weekend of Trout season
  • DPI Charlie 17 (March 2017) patrolling the Murray River and surrounding waterways over the Victorian Labour Day long weekend
  • DPI Delta 17 (April 2017) targeting illegal fishing activity across North Western NSW waterways over the 2017 Easter holiday period
  • DPI November 17 (May – June 2017) targeting illegal activity in trout spawning streams in the Snowy Mountains
  • DPI Papa 17 (June 2017) patrolling the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers targeting illegal capture of Murray Crayfish

Significant Court Results (2016-17)

Bega Local Court June 2016

  • A man from Melbourne was fined $8000 for exceeding possession limits of abalone and whelks. When inspected by Fisheries Officers at Merimbula boat ramp in June 2015 he was found in possession of 83 abalone and 776 whelks

Walgett Local Court July 2016

  • Three men were fined a total of $2,500 and ordered to pay $890 in court costs after pleading guilty to illegally using 2 bait nets and 36 setlines in the Barwon River near Collarenebri.

Manly Local Court August 2016

  • Two spearfisherman were convicted for harming a critically endangered Greynurse Shark at Mona Vale in Sydney in August 2015. Both men were placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered to pay costs of $1750 each

Wollongong Local Court August 2016

  • A 43 year old man from Shell Cove NSW found in possession of 100kg of Eastern Rock Lobster was fined a total of $25,000. The man was originally fined $40,000 which was downgraded on appeal.

Bega Local Court September 2016

  • A commercial fisher from Eden NSW was fined $12,000 and ordered to pay over $3,000 in professional costs for taking eels from closed (inland) waters.

Downing Centre District Court October 2016

  • A man from Lansvale NSW has been gaoled for 18 months and fined $5,750 after being reported for multiple offences when he was found in possession of 248 shucked Abalone near Wapengo NSW.

Bankstown Local Court February 2017

  • A man from Riverwood in Western Sydney received fines and costs of more than $15,000 after being found in possession of 575 abalone 166 of which were prohibited size. The man also received 12 months imprisonment which was suspended and was directed to enter into a good behaviour bond for a period of 3 years, as an alternative to imprisonment. The man’s vehicle in which the abalone were found was seized and forfeited to the State.

Burwood Local Court March 2017

  • Two men found to be in possession of over 1800 cockles and over 1300 oysters taken from the Sydney Harbour shellfish closure have been fined a total of $6,000 and ordered to pay $2320 in professional costs.

Bankstown Local Court June 2017

  • A 63 year old man from Berala NSW has been gaoled for 2 years and fined $32,000 for trafficking in an indictable species of fish. The man was found in possession of 2870 shucked Abalone and 42kg of Shark fins at his Berala residence.

Fishers Watch (2016-17)

4,632 Fishers Watch calls were logged

  • Top telephone exchanges were Sydney, Gosford and Newcastle
  • Most popular days: Saturday, Sunday and Monday
  • There were 481 fishers watch web reports made online

Images of Fisheries Officer Compliance Activity

Boat seized by Fisheries Officers at Kissing Point boat ramp, used to illegally take Blue Eye Trevalla, Gemfish and Mirror Dory offshore from Sydney
Cast net & various prohibited size fish seized at the Kyeemagh boat ramp in Sydney
Crab traps seized during Operation Portunus
Fisheries Officers staffing the Fisheries NSW advisory stand at the Brisbane Boat Show
Fisheries Officers and NSW Police Officers apprehending fishers at Eraring Power Station hot water outlet closed waters
Fisheries Officers patrolling Burrendong Dam over the Easter weekend
Fish seized within the Seal Rocks sanctuary zone in the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park
Illegal fish trap and Murray Cod seized from the Gwydir River
Illegally harvested shellfish meat seized from a restaurant in Quirindi on the North West Slopes of NSW
Illegally speared Groper seized at the Quarantine Bay boat ramp, south of Eden
Cockles illegally taken from Sydney Harbour shellfish closure
An illegal meshing net and fish seized from the Clarence River
Illegal yabby traps seized from the Gwydir River near Bingara NSW
Mangrove Jack illegally speared in the Solitary Islands Marine Park
Over 450 Cockles found concealed under a panel in the bow of a boat
Over 2000 cockles seized from Lake Illawarra
Prohibited size abalone seized at Shellharbour, south of Wollongong NSW
Trout Cod illegally taken from the Murray River near Yarrawonga NSW
Boat seized by Fisheries Officers at Kissing Point boat ramp, used to illegally take Blue Eye Trevalla, Gemfish and Mirror Dory offshore from Sydney
Cast net & various prohibited size fish seized at the Kyeemagh boat ramp in Sydney
Crab traps seized during Operation Portunus
Fisheries Officers staffing the Fisheries NSW advisory stand at the Brisbane Boat Show
Fisheries Officers and NSW Police Officers apprehending fishers at Eraring Power Station hot water outlet closed waters
Fisheries Officers patrolling Burrendong Dam over the Easter weekend
Fish seized within the Seal Rocks sanctuary zone in the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park
Illegal fish trap and Murray Cod seized from the Gwydir River
Illegally harvested shellfish meat seized from a restaurant in Quirindi on the North West Slopes of NSW
Illegally speared Groper seized at the Quarantine Bay boat ramp, south of Eden
Cockles illegally taken from Sydney Harbour shellfish closure
An illegal meshing net and fish seized from the Clarence River
Illegal yabby traps seized from the Gwydir River near Bingara NSW
Mangrove Jack illegally speared in the Solitary Islands Marine Park
Over 450 Cockles found concealed under a panel in the bow of a boat
Over 2000 cockles seized from Lake Illawarra
Prohibited size abalone seized at Shellharbour, south of Wollongong NSW
Trout Cod illegally taken from the Murray River near Yarrawonga NSW

Past enforcement information