Rough reception for professional fishers

COMMERCIAL fishermen netting in Oyster Cove Lake were treated to a rough welcome this week when residents wrongly believed they were fishing illegally in the lake.

The fishermen, who were netting mullet, found themselves under constant surveillance by residents who resorted to recording their number plates, photographing and video taping their movements in the lake.

But Department of Primary Industries Fisheries manager Max Whitnell said there were no restrictions on fishing in the lake.

"It is open for commercial fishing, the men are commercial fishermen so what they are doing is legal," he said.

"We checked the vessels given to us by the residents and they are licensed commercial fishermen and they are allowed to engage in that activity."

The men were using a flat-bottomedpunt which contained large ice boxes to contain fish.

Residents reported they had nets set in the lake to catch the mullet on the rising tide.

They said they were concerned about the men's use of the punt as they believed there was a power boat restriction in place on the lake.

But Clarence Valley Council environment and planning director Rob Donges said he was unaware of any such restric- tion.

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