A north Queensland recreational fisher has been fined $9000 after pleading guilty to four fishing offences including illegal netting in the Ingham Magistrates’ Court.
The man was charged with unlawfully using two commercial fishing nets, possessing four commercial fishing nets and two protected sawfish rostrums, and making a misleading statement to Fisheries Queensland officers. Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Robert Marsh said illegal netting was a serious offence, which had been demonstrated by the magistrate issuing a significant fine.
“QBFP officers located two illegal nets at Toomulla Beach north of Townsville during a routine patrol in December 2015,” Mr Marsh said. “The man was charged with illegally using two commercial fishing nets and the other charges resulted from the execution of a search warrant in February 2016.”
The six commercial nets were forfeited to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The court did not record a conviction. Mr Marsh said recreational fishers needed to be aware of restrictions on recreational fishing equipment. “There are strict guidelines in place for the use of nets because when left unattended, they can be indiscriminate in what marine life they entangle and catch,” he said.
Mr Marsh said the court prosecution was a timely reminder about the rules for recreational net fishing in Queensland tidal waters.
- A seine net (commonly known as a bait net or drag net) must not exceed 16m in length, 3m in drop and must have a mesh size no greater than 28mm.
- Cast nets can be no more than 3.7m when measured from the point of attachment of the cord or rope to the rest of the net, to the net lead line or bottom of the lowest pocket of the net, whichever is greater. Mesh size must be no greater than 28mm.
“If anyone suspects illegal fishing activity, they should report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116 so that it can be investigated,” Mr Marsh said.
For more information on Queensland fishing rules and regulations, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free Qld Fishing app from Apple and Google app stores.
You can follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@FisheriesQld).