Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers are cracking down on illegal fishing during the COVID-19 lockdown, after tips were received from the public through the Fishers Watch Phoneline.
NSW Police assisted DPI Fisheries who attended Fingal Island sanctuary zone, part of Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park on Saturday July 3. There they found that four people had travelled from Sydney to fish at that location in breach of COVID-19 regulations that were put in place by NSW Health. Three of them were also interviewed by fisheries officers regarding the harming or attempting to harm fish and, were in possession of fishing equipment in a sanctuary zone of the marine park. Following these interviews, the officers seized their fishing equipment (rods, reels and catch bags), together with their catch that had been unlawfully taken.
Both the COVID-19 and sanctuary zone breaches are serious offences and significant penalties apply, with a number of infringement notices to be issued to each of the offenders. Only 3 of the people were found to be fishing in the sanctuary zone and each will receive $1000 in fines relating to the fisheries offences.
All four of the group will receive $1000 fines from NSW Police Port Stephens Marine Area Command for their breach of COVID-19 Public Health Orders.
The public are encouraged to report illegal fishing activity to the NSW Fishers Hotline on 1800 043 536 or via the online Report Illegal Activity Form https://fal.cn/3gJWh