13FISH call catches spearfisher in marine sanctuary

Vic Department of Transport

A phone call from a concerned community member to 13FISH has helped Melbourne Fisheries Officers intercept a man fishing illegally within Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary.

Fisheries Officers responded to the call on the evening of June 30 and subsequently observed a man diving within the sanctuary boundary with a speargun.

Director of Education and Enforcement with the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) Ian Parks said the man was intercepted by officers after leaving the water and allegedly found in possession of 15 snapper, two of which were undersize, two abalone, three sand crabs and one sea cucumber.

Officers were able to return to the water alive the abalone, crabs and sea cucumber.

The man will be summonsed to appear in court to face charges including possessing priority species in a marine sanctuary, using recreational fishing equipment in a marine sanctuary, possessing undersize fish and exceeding the daily catch limit.

Mr Parks said this was a great example of how the community can help protect our fisheries and ensure they remain sustainable for decades to come.

“The phone call gave us vital information, in a timely fashion, that enabled Fisheries Officers to respond and apprehend the alleged offender.

“A marine sanctuary is just that, a sanctuary, and we will continue to enforce regulations to ensure fishers do not target any species within these protected areas.”

If you see or suspect illegal fishing, call the VFA’s 24/7 reporting service, 13 FISH (13 3474), to speak directly to a Fisheries Officer. You can remain anonymous. Make the call and make the difference.

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