Enforcement outcomes Q2 2013-2014
Numbers of Fisheries Inspections undertaken
Fisheries Officers conducted 13396 inspections during the period 1 October 2013 – 31 December 2013 (Quarter 2).
|Fishing Sector||Inspections Conducted||Offenders Detected||Verbal Warnings Issued||Official (written) Warnings Issued||Infringement Notices Issued||Briefs Written|
|Unlicensed / Take for Sale||2||1||0||1||1||0|
|Marine Parks Inspections||117||39||20||8||11||0|
In Quarter 2, Fisheries Officers also conducted 281 patrols of Marine Parks and had a further 821 interactions with fishers.
Major Compliance and Preventative operations
Priority 1 – Unlawful take for sale of high-value fish species (including abalone trafficking)
OPERATION GILLIE utilised significant state wide resources during October-November 2013 to ensure legislative compliance for snapper.
OPERATION KITE targeted the take for sale of rock lobster and concluded with a search warrant conducted on the home of the offender and the inspection of a restaurant.
OPERATION SHEARWATER (joint AFMA/Fisheries Victoria operation) resulted in a search warrant conducted on a commercial fisher's vessel and residence as well as the inspection of a processor
OPERATION QUANTUM is an ongoing investigation into a number of syndicates of divers suspected of trafficking abalone.
Fisheries Education continues to identify new seafood retailers and wholesalers to add to the ongoing distribution list for the "Buy Safe and Legal Seafood" pamphlet. An electronic version of the pamphlet is now available on the department's website.
Fisheries education attended 4 events during this reporting period with cross promotional messages including 'Safe and Legal', 'Take for Sale' and '13FISH'.
A Pipi Fisheries Notice was introduced with current commercial pipi fishers contacted regarding their new reporting requirements and closed areas.
The Fisheries Notice regarding abalone vehicle limits has required education and enforcement action including new signage.
AFMA monitoring has been utilised to monitor the activities of commercial shark fishers possibly operating within Victorian waters.
A media release detailing the impact of illegal fishing practices in inland waters and the effect on by catch such as wildlife was undertaken with a focus on reporting illegal activity through 13FISH.
Court Prosecutions Outcomes
A number of court cases have involved conviction of offenders for trafficking in large amounts of abalone. One offender was fined $5000 for 3 charges relating to receiving and selling abalone.
Priority 2 – Accuracy of Catch and effort reporting data including quota fraud
OPERATION RICHOCHET saw the completion of 85 inspections/observations resulting in one court prosecution in progress that includes action against the licence holder, licence operator and fish wholesale business.
Catch and Effort compliance and education sessions have commenced by all Regions.
A third of all inland aquaculture and bait licence holders have been inspected or had advisory visits during Q1 and Q2.
All Stations are working toward ensuring all commercial fishermen have been spoken to regarding accurate use of log books.
Priority 3 – Policing non-compliance hotspots
OPERATION GILLIE targeted snapper in Port Phillip and Westernport Bays and resulted in 670 contacts.
OPERATION EQUATE targeted the intertidal zone in Warrnambool and Inverloch and resulted in 170 contacts.
Extensive use was made of the Fisheries Education trailers over 4 weeks to enhance compliance messages during a number of operations.
Fisheries Officers attended an additional 7 community events providing opportunity to highlight the compliance message.
Court Prosecutions Outcomes
Two offenders were convicted and fined $1000 and $1500 respectively for exceeding the catch limit for snapper. They were also ordered to pay $1000 compensation for the illegally taken fish and were prohibited from fishing under March 2014.
Core business priorities
Maintaining Community Confidence
Education on sustainable fishing practices and reducing impact on fisheries resources is provided to school pupils by Fisheries education. The Educating for Compliance schools program was delivered in 74 schools to 7715 school children during Q2.
Educating the general public on sustainable fishing practices to create confidence in management practices saw Fisheries Education attend 10 community activities including Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) engagement activities, community events and outreach visits with 1305 general community contacts.
2042 contacts were made through interactive engagement activities and school-holiday programs run through the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre.
Fisheries Education is continuing to develop a range of multilingual products for operation and compliance needs as well as the development of educational material to complement Fisheries Victoria's Aboriginal Fishing Strategy.
Increasing Fisheries patrols outside of normal business hours
The analysis of general compliance trends and recreational fishing research over the last three years reveals that a majority of fishing activity occurs outside of normal business hours.
Similarly, weekends and public holidays account for a majority of offences committed. It is important, therefore, that education and enforcement resources are adequately deployed during these peak times.
In Quarter 2, Fisheries Officers worked 1321 shifts outside normal business hours which equates to approximately 21% of an officer's time.
Policing fishing offences in Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries
In Quarter 2, fisheries officers conducted 152 boat based patrols and 579 land based patrols in Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries.