An illegal fisher was recently sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order with an additional fine of $500.00 in Belmont Local Court.
NSW Fisheries Officers received a report via the Fishers Watch Hotline from a member of the public regarding illegal fishing activity at Moonee Beach, near Catherine Hill Bay, NSW.
NSW Fisheries Officers investigated the report and 4 witnesses provided ample video and photographic evidence.
Witnesses reported that they saw a man exit the water with a spear gun, place what appeared to be a large blue groper into a duffle bag and retrieve a pillowcase full of abalone from amongst the rocks and place it into the duffle bag.
As a result, the man was identified to be a person who has a previous record with NSW Fisheries for possessing more than the bag limit of abalone and taking groper by means of spearing.
The man refused to be interviewed by NSW Fisheries Officers and failed to appear in court. He was subsequently arrested under warrant by NSW Police for these and other unrelated charges.
The man was found guilty of exceeding the possession limit of abalone, which is 2, after the evidence provided clearly showed 52 abalone contained within the duffle bag.
He was also found guilty of taking 1 groper by means other than using a rod or handline.
Fishers are reminded that abalone are a high value commercial species with a recreational bag and possession limit of 2 per person per day and 2 groper can be taken per person per day by line fishing, with a minimum size of 30cm only and only 1 can exceed 60cm.
Fishers are advised to download the free NSW Fisheries “FishSmart” application on their smart phone. Click here for more information on “FishSmart”.
If you see illegal fishing activities, please report it to the Fishers Watch Hotline on 1800 043 536 or online.