Illegal calamari catch sees boat forfeited

21 January 2021

A Hillside man who took 23 calamari off Queenscliff and broke water safety regulations has been convicted, prohibited from fishing for six months, fined $1200 and had his boat and fishing equipment forfeited.

Victorian Fisheries Authority Director of Education and Enforcement Ian Parks said the man pleaded guilty in the Geelong Magistrate’s Court to taking more than the catch limit for calamari, speeding past another vessel and not wearing an approved life jacket when required.

Fisheries Officers observed the man in October 2019, take more than the calamari catch limit, which is 10 per person per day.

“The man took a total of 23 calamari, two of which were returned to the water dead when a larger calamari was caught. This activity is known as ‘high grading’ and is not allowed,” Mr Parks said.

“The man was under surveillance for the entire fishing session as part of Operation Focus.

“Soon after, Fisheries Officers intercepted him at the boat ramp where he claimed to have only taken his bag limit.

“At the time another male was on the boat but at no time did he fish.

“The court heard the man had two prior matters recorded for similar offending and on both occasions his boat had been seized but later returned by the court.”

Mr Parks said repeatedly breaking fishing regulations showed a blatant disregard for the law and the importance of abiding by catch limits so we can all enjoy our sustainable fisheries for years to come.

“Victoria boasts excellent calamari fisheries right along the coast, including Port Phillip, and we want to keep it that way for a species that continues to grow in popularity, both for bait and human consumption.”

To report suspicious or illegal fishing activity call 13FISH (133474) anytime. You can remain anonymous. Make the call and make the difference.

Media contacts: Amelia Crafter 0437 801 068 / Joel Peterson 0436 623 647