Fisheries Compliance Enforcement 2011-12

Client contacts and enforcement: All fishery programs (2011-12)

Fisheries Officer conducts compliance check on a rock fisher

  • Around 58,000 client contacts were made (where powers were exercised / not including surveillance)
  • Around 3,500 field cautions were issued
  • Around 2,500 penalty notices were issued
  • Over 210 matters were successfully prosecuted, including:
    • 113 court imposed fines
    • 4 gaol sentences (3 individuals)
    • 44 bonds (e.g. good behaviour)
    • 14 Community Service Orders.

Seizures due to non-compliance (2011-12)

Illegally kept female Murray crayfish

Over 24,000 fish and invertebrates seized including:

  • 9,044 cockles
  • 2,781 abalone
  • 1,359 pipis
  • 874 yellowfin bream
  • 689 sand whiting.

Over 4,600 items of fishing gear/equipment including:

  • 27 meshing nets, 934 gill nets
  • 52 cast nets, 885 hoop nets
  • 1,074 crab traps, 531 yabby traps
  • 17 sets of diving gear
  • 1 boat
  • 2 cars.

Most common offences (2011-12)


Offence (Legislation)




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




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




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




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




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




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




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




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




Clause 46(3)(a), Use more than 2 hand held lines in inland waters, FM(G)R2010




Clause 46(4), Leave hand held line unattended in inland waters, FM(G)R2010




Subtotal of top 10 offences




All other offences




Total of all offences



FMA1994 is the Fisheries Management Act 1994
FM(G)R2010 is the Fisheries Management (General) Regulation 2010
MPA1997 is the Marine Parks Act 1997

Major compliance operations (2011-12)

Abalone undercover operation

Illegal abalone

Fisheries officers apprehended eight men and seized 460 abalone and six sets of dive gear during a four-day undercover operation at Ulladulla on the NSW south coast.

  • On day one of the operation a 37 year old Ulladulla man and a 49 year old Milton man were apprehended. It is alleged that the 49 year old sold 58 abalone to the 37 year old, who is a local restaurant owner.
  • On the third day, three men were apprehended in possession of 312 abalone near Shell Point, Kioloa. 296 of the abalone were found to be of a prohibited size. It is alleged the men, 29 from Jervis Bay, 27 from Nowra and 26 from Jervis Bay, took the abalone by snorkel and then shucked them in nearby bushland. The three males were later apprehended with the abalone at their vehicle.
  • On day four, three males were apprehended in possession of 90 abalone at Kitten Bay in Kioloa. 73 of those abalone were found to be of a prohibited size. It is alleged the men, 19 from St Georges Basin, 19 from Nowra and 18 from Canberra, took the abalone by snorkel. They were then seen to place the abalone into a vehicle at which time fisheries officers approached them.
  • All eight men will receive Court Attendance Notices to appear at Milton Local Court .

Prohibited size and exceeding possession limits of yellowtail kingfish, bonito, tailor and other recreational species.

Two operations were run between December 2011 and January 2012 in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven area targeting unlawful intertidal rock platform collecting, possession of prohibited size and exceeding possession limits of recreational fishing species. A number of targeted patrols by vehicle, vessel and on foot were conducted leading to 346 fishers being checked. A total of 20 infringement notices and 21 written warnings were issued for range of offences including possession of prohibited size fish, exceeding possession limits, failing to have official receipt (fishing licence) in immediate possession and unlawfully using a net or trap for taking fish. A number of fish and items of fishing gear were seized.

Compliance operations: Inland (2011-12)

Fisheries Officer returning to water protected species Trout Cod

Numerous inland operations were conducted during 2011-12 – targeting:

  • Australia Day long weekend patrols along Murray River
  • August Grabine Classic Fishing Competition at Wyangala Dam
  • Illegal fish traps along the Lachlan River
  • Murray crayfish season on the Murrumbidgee River
  • Murray cod season opening across western rivers
  • November (Melbourne Cup) Victorian long weekend patrols along Murray River
  • Queens Birthday long weekend patrols across south western inland waterways
  • Lawful sale of seafood from vendors in state’s north west
  • Closed trout waters in Monaro/South West Slopes areas
  • Opening of trout streams across NSW on October long weekend
  • Unlawful yabby traps in the Darling River and Menindee Lakes
  • Victorian Labour Day long weekend patrols along Murray River
  • February 2011: 920 gill nets seized from offenders home in Menindee under prohibition order.

Significant Court outcomes (2011-12)

Wellington Local Court July 2011

  • One offender convicted of possessing illegal fishing lines: Fined $500, $79 court costs, $2,600 in professional costs

Warren Local Court November - December 2011

Seized fishing gear from western NSW

  • Three offenders convicted of using illegal gill nets, possessing fish illegal taken, taking fish contrary to closure and threatening fisheries officers
  • First offender fined $7,000, $405 court costs, 450 hrs community service, 2 year bond
  • Second offender fined $2,000, $81 court costs
  • Third offender fined $3,000, $743 professional costs.

Forster Local Court February 2012

  • One commercial fisher convicted of using unlawful crab traps and meshing nets
  • Fined total of $3,005.

Wentworth Local Court February 2012

  • One offender convicted of fishing in closed waters
  • Fined total of $4,631.

Burwood Local Court March 2012

  • One offender convicted of trafficking abalone
  • Fined $69,204, $2,230 in professional costs and 12 months gaol.

Broken Hill Local Court March 2012

  • One offender convicted of using unlawful yabby traps and gill net, exceeding yabby possession limit and failing to pay fishing fee
  • Fined $4,750, $1,081 in professional costs and prohibition order.

Wollongong Local Court April 2012

  • Two offenders convicted exceeding possession limits and size restrictions
  • Each fined $4,000 plus court costs.

Manly Local Court April 2012

  • One offender convicted of spear fishing in prohibited waters
  • Fined $2,450, $81 court costs.

Sutherland Local Court May 2012

Illegally taken saltwater nippers

  • One offender convicted of seven offences relating to two separate matters involving take of saltwater nippers
  • Fined more than $10,000, 400 hours community service, 3 months suspended gaol sentence, bond, anger management program and prohibited from taking, gathering or possessing saltwater nippers anywhere in NSW for five years.

Batemans Bay Local Court June 2012

  • One offender convicted of illegally using an ocean hauling net
  • Fined more than $10,000, 5 year good behaviour bond, 50 hours community service and fined $1,500 for breaching original bond.

Fishers Watch (2011-2012)

2,795 Fishers Watch calls were logged.

  • Most popular telephone exchanges were Sydney, Gosford, Newcastle and Illawarra
  • Most popular days: Saturday, Monday and Tuesday
  • Most popular time: around 9:30am
  • Mobile phone is the most popular connection device
  • 97 web-based reports.

New compliance patrol boat

New patrol boat

A new custom 6.2 metre rigid hull inflatable patrol boat has been delivered to the Clarence Fisheries Office at Maclean to increase offshore patrol capabilities.