Poor records cost Corner Inlet commercial fishers

21 December 2018

A Corner Inlet commercial licence holder and his operator have been fined a total of $2,000 for failing to record accurate catch and effort information in their log books.

Last week, the Geelong Magistrates Court heard that Fisheries Officers undertook surveillance of the men’s commercial fishing activities over several days near Port Albert in Corner Inlet during Operation Cosmic.

It was alleged the operator of the licence failed to record details of their catch and effort in his monthly fishing log book.

Other recorded details were inaccurate and un-truthful.

Magistrate McGarvie found both men guilty and said their record keeping had been lazy, sloppy and reconstructed at the end of the month.

She also said that catch and effort fishing data needed to be accurate, so the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) could rely on the information to manage fish stocks.

The licence holder received an $800 penalty, whilst the licence operator was convicted and fined $1,200.

The matter has been appealed to the County Court.

VFA Director of Education and Enforcement, Ian Parks, said the offending was disappointing because commercial fishers in Corner Inlet have a voluntary code of practice which places further restrictions on how, when and where they fish so as to satisfy the expectations of consumers and reduce conflict with recreational fishers.

“Most commercial fishers in Corner Inlet do the right thing and have set the bar very high.

They provide the Victorian public with popular table fish including King George whiting, rock flathead and calamari.”

Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing can report it to the 24-hour reporting line 13FISH (133474).