Fishing in Sanctuary Zones not tolerated

A man has been ordered to pay a fine and court costs following his apprehension for illegally fishing in a Sanctuary Zone on the NSW Central Coast, NSW DPI Acting Fisheries Compliance Director, Dr Andrew Moriarty, said today.

“NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Fisheries Officers from the Port Stephens District apprehended the man following a patrol of the Little Beach area,” Dr Moriarty said.

“The man was identified as fishing off Nelson Head, this area is within the Fly Point Corrie Island Sanctuary Zone of the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park, in which harming or attempting to harm animals is deemed to be a serious offence under the Marine Estate Management Act 2014.

“The officers intervened and spoke to the fisher who was in possession of two snapper illegally taken, with one being of prohibited size. The catch was seized by Fisheries Officers and the fisher was issued a $500 penalty notice.

“The fisher elected to have the matter heard in court, and subsequently the penalty was increased to $700. The man was also made to pay an additional $1,400 in court costs.

“Sanctuary Zones provide for the highest level of protection and only allow for activities that do not involve harming any animal or plant or causing any damage to or interference with natural or cultural features or habitat.”

Regulations under the Marine Estate Management Act 2014 are in force to protect and maintain a biologically diverse, healthy and productive marine estate.

Fisheries Officers patrol marine parks day and night, on weekdays, weekends, and public holidays to ensure everyone is following the rules.

People found fishing in sanctuary zones can expect to be caught and heavy penalties of up to $22,000 for each breach handed down. The seizure of a fishers catch as well as fishing gear, vehicles and boats can also apply.

Information regarding marine parks is freely available at local boat ramps, through phone applications (FishSmart NSW and Avenza), on DPI’s website, at tackle stores and local fisheries offices – really there are no excuses for not keeping up-to-date with the rules in your fishery.

“Make yourself aware of the rules before heading out or face the consequences,” Dr Moriarty said.

Report illegal fishing online or via the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536 and find information on marine parks.

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