Enforcement outcomes Q2 2014-2015

Numbers of Fisheries inspections undertaken

Fisheries Officers conducted over 14,080 inspections during the period between 1 October 2014 – 31 December 2014 (Quarter 2)

Table detailing the number of inspections and enforcement outcomes summarised by fishing sector.

Fishing Sector

Inspections Conducted

Offenders Detected

Verbal Warnings Issued

Official Warnings Issued

Infringement Notices Issued

Briefs Written















Unlicensed/Take For Sale







Marine Parks - Inspections














Major Enforcement and Preventative operations

Priority 1 – Detect, investigate, disrupt and dismantle the black market in high value fish species, including serious organised fisheries criminal activity


There are several ongoing operations targeting individuals trafficking in commercial quantities of abalone.  Further information will be released at the conclusion of the operations.

Operation Quantum targeted an organised syndicate of land based divers harvesting abalone, rock lobster and other shellfish from South West Victoria.  It was suspected the shellfish were being taken for sale. The operation was concluded in Q2 with 12 search warrants being conducted at residential addresses of the divers.  12 vehicles and a large quantity of cash were seized.  Fourteen people were charged with fisheries offences including trafficking in a commercial quantity of abalone and a number of conspiracy related Crimes Act charges. In addition 7 of the accused have been charged with dealing in the proceeds of crime as a result of quantities of cash that were located during the search warrants.


Fisheries officers continued with planned targeted patrols in high risk and remote areas. Two offenders were detected at Waratah Bay and will appear at court in relation to abalone offences.  Fisheries Officers in the Northern Region have been conducting surveillance and utilising remote cameras to detect the use of illegal commercial fishing equipment in the area.


An offender was convicted of taking a commercial quantity of abalone being 293 blacklip abalone.  He was fined $3500 and equipment including dive gear was forfeited to the court.  The offender has been issued a s130A notice restricting fishing activity in Victorian waters for a period of five years.

An offender was convicted of taking more than twice the catch limit of abalone being 53 blacklip abalone.  He was sentenced to a 1 month suspended prison sentence.  All seized property including diving equipment was forfeited and a s130Anotice restricting fishing activity in Victorian waters was issued for a period of five years.

An offender was found guilty of taking a commercial quantity of abalone being 200 blacklip abalone. He was fined $1200 and all seized property including diving equipment and a vehicle was forfeited.  A s120A notice restricting fishing activity in Victorian waters was issued for a period of two years.

Priority 2 – Ensure the accuracy of catch & effort reporting in commercial license and permit holders; and detect and prevent quota fraud


Operation REGAL targeted commercial eel fishermen who were not complying with licence conditions.  A number of Infringement Notices and Official Warnings were issued to the commercial licence holders as a result. 


A number of commercial eel inspections  conducted on the Barwon Estuary due to increased activity in the area.  A number of offences were detected in this area.

Several inspections and audits have been conducted on commercial licence holders across the state.


Fisheries Officers are continuing to provide education to commercial fisherman in relation to their responsibilities as a licence holder and the compliance process.

A Catch & Effort compliance program has been following up on late catch & effort returns.


A commercial bait access licence was cancelled due the license holder being determined to not be a fit and proper person due to a number of breaches of licence conditions and one charge in relation to the take of fish for sale without authority. 

Priority 3 – Police peak periods and locations of concentrated non-compliance and high volume activity


Operation SONIC was targeted at pipi collection in Venus bay between 26th-28th December 2014.  Over the three day period, there were 796 inspections resulting in 80 offenders, 60 verbal warnings, 9 infringement notices and 1 prosecution brief. The Victorian Fisheries Authority education trailer was also utilised during the operation.

Operation RAPTOR – targeted the snapper fishery from Port Phillip Bay through to Corner Inlet, and focused on the take of the larger aggregating/ spawning snapper over 40cm.

A total of 2889 inspections were conducted resulting in 68 Verbal warnings, 38 Official (written) warnings, 61 Infringement notices issued and 2 prosecution briefs.


Officers in the Northern region are investigating offences in relation to the take of golden perch in the Lake Eildon area.

Increased effort is being directed towards the issue of the take of large quantities of sand crabs in the Inverloch area.

Officers from Central and Western regions continue to focus on the illegal take of shellfish from the intertidal zones with particular emphasis on the low tides. A broad range of offences have been detected in the intertidal zone area.   

Fisheries officers have been conducting regular patrols of Venus bay in relation to the illegal take of pipis from the area. As a result two offenders were detected that has resulted in a brief of evidence being prepared.


The Fisheries Education Unit continues to deliver the Fisheries Educating for Compliance program to Victorian school children. Year 3 and 4 students participated in a range of classroom and outdoor education activities that highlight the importance of the intertidal zone and the actions they can take to care for it.


An offender was issued an infringement notice in relation to taking undersize Black Bream and taking more than the allowable catch limit. The offender elected to have the matter herd in court.  The result was that the infringement notice was upheld.

One offender was prosecuted for taking over the bag limit of snapper and undersize snapper.  He was fined $1200, ordered to pay costs of $385 and prohibited from fishing for 2 months.

An offender was issued an infringement notice for taking undersize abalone and elected to have the matter heard in court. The charge was proven and in addition to the infringement penalty, the offender ordered to pay costs of $150.55.

Other core business priorities

Maintaining Community Confidence: During Q2 the Community and Schools education program achieved the following:

  • About 600 people were educated about fishing rules and regulations at the Children's Fair and the Churchill Times Junior Fishing competition.
  • Education activities were provided to 6139 students from 89 schools.  Years 3 and 4 and VCE year 11 students were a focus of Fisheries Education schools program during this quarter.
  • 498 people visited the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre (MFDC).
  • 732 children and their carers attended the Holiday Program at the MFDC.

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. The Victorian Fisheries Authority aims to ensure that at least 25% of an officer's duty time is rostered outside of business hours.

In Quarter 2 (2014-2015), Fisheries Officers worked 1344 shifts outside normal business hours which equates to approximately 21% of an officer's time. This is short of the 25% goal due to a number of Fisheries Officer vacancies across the state.

Policing fishing offences in Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries

In Quarter 2 (2014-2015), fisheries officers conducted 433 patrols in Marine National Parks and Sanctuaries, resulting in 83 inspections.  

Education about Marine Parks and Sanctuaries is delivered as part of the Educating for Compliance schools program and community programs.

Maintain the 13FISH reporting line

Find out more about 13FISH statistics for this quarter.