News and Views

Illegal fishers caught with new technology

Surveillance within the Great Lakes Marine Park. Image provided by the NSW DPI

Fisheries compliance within the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park has received a boost with NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers now having access to new technologies, including remote cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles, to target illegal fishing activities.

DPI’s Director of Fisheries Compliance, Patrick Tully said illegal fishing within the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park will not be tolerated and significant penalties apply.

“Marine parks are special areas set aside to conserve marine biodiversity and support marine science and education, while at the same time providing for many recreational activities such as diving, boating and fishing,” Mr Tully said.

“No take zones generally apply to about 20 per cent of an area of a marine park while about 80 per cent is accessible to lawful recreational fishing.

“The new remote camera, overseeing the Seal Rocks sanctuary zone, has been operating since March 2017 and has already led to the apprehension of numerous offenders.

“A total of eight offenders have been issued penalty notices totalling more than $5,000 with 51 snapper and other illegally taken fish species seized.

“In separate incidents, offenders have also been caught and issued with penalties following patrols using unmanned aerial vehicles.”

Protecting the State’s fish habitats is crucial to ensuring healthy aquatic ecosystems and sustainable fishing can be enjoyed by generations to come.

Any suspected illegal fishing activity can be reported to the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536 or reported on line through the DPI Fisheries website.

Recreational fishers are encouraged to access a copy of the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park Zoning Plan (available on the DPI Fisheries website or from the Marine Parks Office at Taylors Beach) or download the Avenza app on their mobile, to make sure they are familiar with the rules before wetting a line.

Source: NSW DPI

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