A COMPANY was recently fined $40,000 at the Hervey Bay Magistrates’ Court for causing damage to a substantial area of marine plants.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Greg Bowness said Fisheries Queensland takes the destruction of marine plants seriously as they play an important role in sustaining fish habitats. “The company excavated about 8407sq m of soil from a nearby dam and placed it on marine plants at Toogoom,” Mr Bowness said. “The marine plants were destroyed and the company was subsequently charged under the Fisheries Act 1994. The company was fined $40,000 in the Hervey Bay Magistrates’ Court and ordered to pay $7594.33 in professional costs.”
Mr Bowness said all marine plants including mangroves, saltmarsh and seagrass are protected under Queensland law. “This protection applies to all land tenures, including private, leasehold or public lands and whether the marine plants are alive or dead,” he said. “Check with Fisheries Queensland prior to undertaking any activities around marine plants as heavy penalties apply to any unauthorised disturbances.”
Mr Bowness said Fisheries Queensland also successfully prosecuted two unlicensed fishers last month. “A fisher was fined $2000 in the Yeppoon Magistrates’ Court for unlawfully attempting to sell fisheries resources,” he said. “Fisheries Queensland intercepted the fisher attempting to sell 29 barramundi to a Rockhampton seafood outlet in September 2016. Another fisher was fined $2800 and ordered to pay $1000 in professional costs in the Bundaberg Magistrates’ Court. The fisher was charged with five counts of unlawful possession of commercial fishing apparatus.”
To report suspected illegal fishing activity, call the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. For more information on Queensland’s fishing regulations, visit 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).