25 September 2023

Fisheries campaign nets record fines

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Fisheries Officers with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) have reported catches of 5,379 illegally harvested fish and shellfish as part of the Department’s State-wide Operation Small Fry.

Director of Fisheries Compliance at DPI, Patrick Tully said 1,350 offences were detected during the operation with $102,500 worth of on-the-spot fines handed out to those caught possessing or selling prohibited-size fish.

He said 26 others would face, or already had faced, Court for serious offences involving prohibited-size fish.

“There were 20 locations where Fisheries Officers found most offences occurring during the year-long operation,” Mr Tully said.

“Greater Sydney was the worst performer with five metropolitan postcodes in the top 10, including Pyrmont (1), Kyeemagh (6), Port Botany (7), Kurnell (8) and La Perouse (9).”

He said regional areas in the top 10 of offending locations were Port Kembla (2), Woolgoolga (3), Shellharbour (4), Eden (5) and Merimbula (10).

“Men were the most prolific offenders by far with 30-to-34 year olds being the most over-represented age group,” Mr Tully said

“Whiting, snapper, bream, tarwhine and kingfish were the finfish species most commonly involved.”

He gave the example of a fisherman who had 41 kilograms of prohibited-size Yellowtail Kingfish concealed in his boat.

“Turban snails, abalone, crabs and lobsters were the most common invertebrates seized by Fisheries Officers,” Mr Tully said.

“We’ve learnt a lot through Operation Small Fry and continuing to reduce the prevalence of prohibited-size fish offences in NSW will remain an enduring priority for us,” he said.

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