Six men have been fined and issued with warnings by NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Fisheries Officers for illegally fishing at the protected Ex HMAS Adelaide Reserve site off Avoca Beach.
NSW DPI Acting Director, Fisheries Compliance, Dr Andrew Moriarty, said fisheries officers have recorded a rise in reports of illegal fishing at the site in recent months.
“Fisheries Officers responded to information received from the public on April 23, apprehending six people illegally fishing within the Ex-HMAS Adelaide Reserve,” Dr Moriarty said.
“Fishing is prohibited within the Ex-HMAS Adelaide Reserve as it is a designated dive site.
“Offences are punishable by a fine of up to $22,000, six months imprisonment, or both,” he added.
The six people were issued with six penalty notices and five written cautions for offences detected within the Reserve.
They were issued $2,700 in fines including for prohibited sized fish, which carries similar penalties.
“With an increase in recreational fishing activities, Fisheries Officers are targeting unlawful and illegal recreational fishing and continue to patrol NSW waterways whilst COVID-19 restrictions across the community are in place,” Dr Moriarty said.
“These fishing restrictions are in place to protect all water users competing for space.
“There are plenty of places to wet a line in NSW, including a designated Offshore Artificial Reef, located at Newcastle.
“All fishing regulations are in place to protect and conserve our fish stocks and aquatic habitats to ensure that fishing activities remain sustainable,” Dr Moriarty said.
Media statement, May 28
NSW Department of Primary Industries Media Unit
Reporter: Dilon Luke