NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers handed down 26 penalty notices, totalling $11,200, and issued 22 warnings to fishers in the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park sanctuary zone over just two days recently.
Across Tuesday 5 January and Wednesday 6 January 2021, Fisheries Officers took action against occupants of 15 boats.
Acting Director Fisheries Compliance, Dr Andrew Moriarty, said he was disappointed with the behaviour of fishers.
“Offences detected included harm or attempt to harm fish in a sanctuary zone, being in possession of fishing equipment in certain circumstances within those zones, and failure to pay the recreational fishing fee,” Dr Moriaty said.
“A number of fish were also seized and returned to the water alive.
“Illegal fishing activity has a detrimental impact on protected habitats, plants and animals.
“The Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park contains a diverse range of habitats which all support distinct groups of plants and animals, and it is disappointing to see fishers breaking the rules in these areas considering how widely the rules are available.”
Marine Park fishing rules are available from the NSW FishSmart App, the Avenza Maps app, the NSW DPI website, and printed advisory materials at tackle stores, NSW DPI Fisheries Offices and major boat ramps within NSW Marine Parks.
Fishing in sanctuary zones is deemed a serious offence and offenders can face penalties of up to a maximum of $22,000 for each offence.
Members of the public can report illegal fishing in marine parks by calling the NSW DPI Fishers Watch service on 1800 043 536 or by completing an online report: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/compliance/report-illegal-activity.