26 September 2023

NPWS hooks illegal nets at Basham Beach

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National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) have joined to deal with the discovery of illegal nets cast at Basham Beach that sparked an urgent reminder of fishing rules in South Australian marine parks and sanctuary zones.

On 16 August, fisheries officers seized a 45metre net containing dead fish in Aldinga Reef after a member of the public tipped off the NPWS and PIRSA Fisheries

Additionally, marine park rangers conducting a routine patrol off Encounter Marine Park on 9 November found a cast net concealed in a black plastic garbage bag.

The net contained fresh seaweed, suggesting someone had recently used it; this was the second illegal net found by fishery officers in the past three months.

Senior Ranger at NPWS, Darryl Cowan said it was illegal for recreational fishers to use either type of a net in any coastal waters, let alone marine park sanctuary zones, in South Australia.

“With the warmer weather just around the corner, it’s a timely reminder for people planning on heading out to fish over summer to be aware of marine park rules, particularly the location of sanctuary zones,” Senior Ranger Cowan said.

He said it was an offence to take or harm any plant or animal within these sanctuary zones, meaning fishing was strictly prohibited.

The maximum penalty for marine park sanctuary zone offences is a $100,000 fine or two years imprisonment.

“Fishing in a marine park sanctuary zone is no different to hunting in a national park. It interrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem. We want sanctuary zones to be natural areas where marine life can flourish,” Senior Ranger Cowan said.

“Thankfully, most of the rec fishing community do the right thing,” he said.

“You can also help be our eyes and ears out there on the water and report any suspected illegal fishing, whether inside marine parks or generally, by calling Fishwatch on 1800 065 522.”

More information about the sanctuary zone locations can be accessed at this PS News link.

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