Fisheries Compliance Enforcement 2012-13

Client contacts and enforcement: All fishery programs (2012-13)

  • Over 49,000 client contacts were  made (where powers were exercised / not including surveillance)
  • Around 3600 written warnings were  issued
  • Around 2200 penalty notices were  issued
  • Over 200 matters were successfully  prosecuted, including:
    • 108 court imposed fines
    • 33 gaol sentences (7 individuals)
    • 26 bonds (e.g. good behaviour)
    • 2 Community Service Orders

Seizures  due to non-compliance (2012-13)

Over 52,000 fish and  invertebrates seized including:

  • 22,384 cockles
  • 8156 pipis
  • 2662 nippers (saltwater)
  • 2647 silver trevally
  • 2226 abalone
  • 1003 yellowfin bream
  • 613 eastern rock lobsters
  • 323 snapper

Over 3,100 items of fishing  gear/equipment including:

  • 52 meshing nets
  • 27 cast nets, 624 hoop nets
  • 770 crab traps, 607 yabby traps
  • 21 sets of diving gear
  • 3 boats
  • 2 cars

Most common  offences (2012-13)


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




Section    20A(3)(b), Take fish declared waters - recreational fishing - 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    35(1), Possess fish illegally taken - first offence, FMA1994




Section    17A, Harm or attempt to harm an animal in sanctuary zone - designated serious    offence, MPA1997




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 (2012-13)

Unlawful  recreational fishing on the NSW   Central Coast

Fisheries Officers issued 123  penalty notices and 136 written warnings as a result of an operation conducted  at the The Entrance over the Christmas/New Year period. Illegal fishing  offences detected included failing to pay the fishing fee, possessing prohibited  size fish, failing to have fishing fee receipt in immediate possession and  possessing more than the possession limit. Items seized included 114 sand  whiting, 104 tarwhine and 2 cast nets.

Port Stephens  Trailer Boat Competition

Fisheries Officers issued 66  penalty notices and 72 written warnings as a result of an operation conducted  on the North Coast during the Port Stephens Trailer  Boat Competition in March 2013. Illegal fishing offences detected included  fishing in a marine park sanctuary zone, possessing prohibited fishing  equipment, failing to have fishing fee receipt in immediate possession and  possessing prohibited size fish. Items seized included 41 eastern rock  lobsters, 11 snapper, 5 hoop or lift nets and 3 crab traps.

Unlawful  Recreational and Commercial Fishing on the NSW North Coast

Fisheries Officers issued 13  penalty notices and 33 written warnings as a result of an operation conducted  in the Myall Lakes area in May 2013. Both commercial  and recreational Illegal fishing offences were detected included possession of  prohibited fishing equipment, failing to having fishing fee receipt in  immediate possession, possession of prohibited size fish, unlawful use of net  or trap, possession of fish illegally taken and taking fish from closed waters.

Compliance  operations: Inland (2012-13)

Numerous  inland operations were conducted during 2012-13:

  • Grabine Classic Fishing Competition  at Wyangala Dam in August 2012
  • Unlawful fishing on the Darling River in September/October 2012
  • Closed trout waters during September  2012 in Monaro/South West Slopes areas
  • Opening of trout streams across NSW  on 2012 October Long Weekend
  • Illegal trapping of fish on the Barwon River
  • Melbourne Cup Victorian Long Weekend fishing  activity along Murray River in November 2012
  • Murray cod  season opening across western rivers in December 2012
  • Lawful sale of seafood from vendors  in Wagga Wagga area in December 2012
  • Victorian Labour Day Long Weekend  fishing activity along Murray River in March  2013
  • Lawful sale of seafood from vendors in  Riverina area in March 2013
  • Increased fishing activity across  western NSW during Easter 2013
  • Increased fishing activity across  western NSW during June 2013 Queens Birthday Long Weekend

Significant  Court outcomes (2012-13)

Milton Local Court October 2012

  • A commercial fisher from Tabourie Lake was fined $5,400 and placed on a 12  month good behaviour bond after being convicted for possessing fish illegally  taken. He was also ordered to pay $2000 professional costs. Fisheries Officers  had previously located a quantity of silver trevally on board a commercial  fishing vessel at Ulladulla and which contravened commonwealth fishing laws.

Maclean  Local Court September 2012

  • A commercial fisher from Yamba was  fined $9,000 after being convicted for holding a critically endangered grey  nurse shark on his fishing vessel. The shark was located by Fisheries Officers  conducting a routine check on a commercial vessel trawling for prawns at night  in October 2010.

Gladstone  Magistrates Court (Queensland) November 2012

  • A Queensland fisher was fined $35,000  after NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Officers seized 232  illegally caught mud crabs consigned for sale at Sydney Fish Market. The  prosecution was made possible through collaboration of Queensland Boating and  Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) investigators, NSW Fisheries Officers and Sydney Fish  Market.

Dubbo  Local Court May 2013

  • Two men appeared before the court  after being apprehended on the Macquarie   River over alleged  fisheries offences during which a boat, motor and trailer were seized. One of  the men was fined $4000, ordered to serve 200 hours community service and  placed on a 2 year good behaviour bond. The other man received a seven month  intensive correction order during which he will be subject to electronic monitoring,  random unannounced home visits, drug testing and a curfew. In addition the man  was banned from engaging in any form of fishing activity west of the Great Dividing Range for 12 months. Charges for the two  men included possession of prohibited size fish, harming fish of an endangered  population, possessing fish illegally taken, possessing prohibited fishing gear  and taking Murray  cod during the closed season.

Parramatta  Local Court April 2013

  • A restaurant operator from Parramatta was fined  $4,000 after being convicted for possessing abalone in circumstances of  aggravation. During an inspection of the restaurant by Fisheries Officers the  man had been found unlawfully in possession of a commercial quantity of abalone.

Macksville  Local Court May 2013

  • Two fishers were fined a total of  $14,000 for illegal eel fishing near the Nambucca River during which Fisheries Officers  seized a boat/motor/trailer (forfeited to the Crown) along with 10 eel traps  and 141 longfin eels (returned to water alive).

Fishers Watch (2012-13)

3,451  Fishers Watch calls were logged.

  • Top telephone exchanges were Sydney,  Gosford, Newcastle and Illawarra
  • Most popular days: Monday, Friday and  Saturday
  • Most popular time: around 1pm
  • Mobile phone is the most popular  connection device
  • 70 web-based reports

Images of Fisheries Officer compliance activity

Examining a yabby trap

Illegal fishing gear and fish seized from western NSW

Fisheries patrol vessel on Sydney Harbour

Searching a coastal river for illegal fishing gear

Measuring a meshing net seized from estuarine waters

Fisheries patrol vessel and a Fish Attraction Device (FAD)