Photos: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Townsville Fisher Fined $7000 for Illegal Fishing

A RECREATIONAL fisher was fined $7000 for multiple fishery offences in Townsville Magistrates Court recently.

The man was charged for using mesh and cast nets in fresh waters, possession of excess and undersized barramundi and possession of tilapia. Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Robert Ibell said the fine demonstrated the seriousness of the offences and should serve as a warning to other fishers to do the right thing.

“QBFP responded to a call from Queensland Police who had intercepted a fisher at the Haughton River,” Mr Ibell said. “The fisher was in possession of 10 barramundi, of which four were undersized.

Townsville prosecution_tilapia
“His Esky also contained two tilapia. “While no nets were located, the barramundi and tilapia displayed signs around the gills consistent with being netted.”

All nets (except landing nets, scoop or dip nets and dilly nets) are illegal to use in Queensland fresh waters.

“Barramundi have a minimum size limit of 58cm, a maximum size limit of 120cm and a possession limit of five,” Mr Ibell said. “Tilapia are a declared noxious fish and must be humanely killed and buried away from the water if caught. “They cannot be kept, eaten or used as bait. “It is important fishers take the time to familiarise themselves with the rules that apply to the area they are fishing. “All fishers have a responsibility to ensure they are fishing within the law.”

If you suspect illegal fishing, whether seen in person or online, report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. Don’t engage the person, as this can compromise an investigation. All information provided to the hotline will be prioritised based on potential fishery risks, accuracy and reliability, with an appropriate response formulated. For more information on Queensland fishing rules, visit, 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).

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  1. Where does it say Tilapia can’t be eaten in Queensland? I looked searched but couldn’t find anything that said it was illegal to eat them. Not my cup of tea but Tilapia are meant to be quite a good eating fish. Maybe if you were allowed to eat them more people might fish for them and get them out of the waterways.

    • Hi Josh, that’s a good point you make there, and possibly something QLD DAF needs to look into.
      However the rules on the DAF website state: “It is unlawful to possess noxious fish alive or dead or to use them as bait.”
      Unless you were to eat the fish raw on the spot or immediately cook it up on your boat/by the bank, you would be in possession of the fish while taking it home/back to camp for later consumption.
      As best I can tell, that’s how Mr Ibell has justified that claim.
      BNB Team

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