Charges and car seizure for illegal nets

14 February 2019

Two people are facing serious charges after a good Samaritan’s phone call to 13FISH early Sunday helped Fisheries Officers locate an illegal net containing more than 1,000 juvenile bream at Sanctuary Lakes.

Victorian Fisheries Authority Director Education and Enforcement Ian Parks said officers managed to release hundreds of live bream from the net, however nearly 890 were found already dead.

“A second identical net was retrieved nearby and contained no fish,” Mr Parks said.

“Officers later attended a Point Cook residence and allegedly discovered five more nets, which were all seized on the spot along with a 2012 Toyota Camry.

“A small number of frozen undersize bream were also located on the property and seized.

“The 29-year-old female and 34-year-old male admitted to setting the nets in the Sanctuary Lakes over the past six months.

“The pair will be charged with using and possessing commercial fishing equipment, taking undersize fish and taking more than the catch limit, and summons to court.

“Using commercial fishing equipment carries a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment and a fine of more than $16,000.”

Mr Parks said these illegal nets were highly effective at catching small fish such as bream and had the potential to cause immense damage to juvenile fish stocks.

“This is great example of the 13FISH number working at its best with the community helping Fisheries Officers apprehend illegal fishers who have little regard for the future of our valuable fisheries.”

“We know most people do the right thing when it comes to enjoying Victoria’s fisheries, but it only takes a few wrongdoers to have a serious impact.”

If you see or suspect illegal fishing activity, call 13FISH (133474), anytime. You can remain anonymous. Make the call and make the difference!