Illegal lobster fishers sprung
TWO recreational fishers from Iluka have been issued penalty notices totalling $2000 after being apprehended at the Woody Head boat ramp allegedly in possession of a commercial quantity of eastern rock lobster.
Department of Primary Industries (DPI) far north coast Supervising Fisheries Officer, Ian Stockton, said a 50-year-old man and a 63-year-old man were observed checking lobster traps prior to being approached by fisheries officers.
"Only one lobster trap is permitted per fisher and these men were seen allegedly checking three lobster traps," Mr Stockton said.
"On approaching the men at the Woody Head boat ramp they were allegedly found in possession of a total of ten eastern rock lobster.
"Each offender received an on the spot fine of $500 for using more than one lobster trap and a second fine of $500 for being in possession of a commercial quantity of eastern rock lobster.
"The seized lobsters were returned to the water alive."
Mr Stockton said this apprehension should serve as a reminder that fisheries officers are regularly checking for illegal fishing activity and will take strong action against those caught failing to comply with regulations.
"It is important that fishers check the rules in the NSW Recreational Fishing Guides available at Fisheries offices and online before fishing and abide by those rules," he said.
"Fisheries officers are out and about every day at sea and on land, up and down the coast.
"Just because you don't see fisheries officers, it doesn't mean they haven't seen you.
"Those caught fishing illegally can expect to face the full force of the law, including fines of up to $22,000 and or six months imprisonment for a first offence associated with bag and size limits."
Anyone witnessing illegal fishing is asked to contact their local fisheries office, call the Fishers Watch hotline on 1800 043 536, or complete the on-line report form.
All information received in good faith will be treated confidentially.