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Photo: QLD Government

Black market fishing could land you in jail

HEAVIER fines and jail time of up to three years awaits anyone who trades fish on the black market.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said it was one of several changes to the Fisheries Act that had now taken effect. “Anyone found guilty of black marketing or trafficking in fish is looking at fines of up to $390,000 and up to three years in jail,” Mr Furner said.

“There is no excuse for black market fishing and we won’t stand for it. We’re also establishing a 20m exclusion zone around shark control equipment. Failing to stay the required distance from equipment such as shark nets and drum lines will incur a fine of $522. This reflects the importance the Queensland Government places on maintaining the safety of swimmers at our beaches. Anyone interfering with this equipment runs the risk of becoming entangled or injured.”

Other reforms that took effect recently included new penalties for inappropriate disclosure of fishers’ private information and the establishment of new harvest strategies.

New penalties also commence for failing to comply with vessel tracking requirements, which could result in an on-the-spot fine of $2611 or up to $130,500 through the courts. Mr Furner said the commencement of these changes completes the Queensland Government’s landmark reform of the Fisheries Act.

“This is all about building a legacy of a sustainable fishery for our children and grandchildren,” Mr Furner said. “We need to protect jobs in both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors, and to do that we need to make sure the resource is protected. Further changes to the regulation are expected later this year to implement reforms to fisheries management, particularly in the trawl, east coast inshore and crab fisheries.”

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