Fisheries Officers from the Statewide Operations and Investigations Group and the Far North Coast Zone with support from the local Clarence Region Boating Safety Officer of NSW Roads and Maritime recently staged an operation to monitor illegal mud crab fishing activity taking place in the Toumbaal Creek at Sandon, NSW.
Toumbaal Creek is a tributary of the Sandon River and is within the Sandon River Sanctuary Zone of the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
In the early hours of the morning on Tuesday 8th November 2022, Fisheries Officers apprehended a 46 year old man and 39 year old man, both from Brooms Head, after they had concluded their secretive night time fishing escapades in Toumbaal Creek.
It is alleged that the two men were in possession of a total of 9 Mud crabs, including two of which were of a prohibited size (less than 8.5 cm carapace length). The crabs had been taken from within the sanctuary zone. Officers seized the catch along with 2 unmarked crab traps and 2 scoop nets.
Both men have each been issued penalty notices totalling $1,000, for the alleged offences of, taking Mud crab from within a sanctuary zone and the unlawful use of a net or trap.
Both men also received caution notices for possession of prohibited size Mud crabs and for lighting of a fire upon emergent (inter-tidal) land within the Marine Park.
The Toumbaal Creek estuary is an important sanctuary area for a multitude of aquatic plants and animals as well as migratory shorebirds. The Estuary comprises high quality remnant mangrove and salt marsh vegetation communities and due to its headwaters being preserved entirely within National Park Estate, the conservation values of the area are significant.
Fisheries Officers work hard alongside National Parks and Wildlife Service Officers to protect this small estuary for the benefit of current and future generations.
To report illegal fishing, call the Fishers Watch phone line 1800 043 536 or report online at https://fal.cn/3fMUz.