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Author Topic: Illegal Fishing  (Read 3950 times)

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Illegal Fishing
« on: April 30, 2011, 11:14:36 PM »
28th of April. 2011

 

To The Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson, MP – NSW Parliament

 

Dear Madam,

 

Re: Illegal fishing activity and lack of Compliance Officers in the Macquarie Region, NSW

 

I write to you out of concern that illegal fishing is rife within the Central West of NSW and that a lack of Fisheries Officers in the Macquarie Region is the sole reason. A blatant disregard for the law exists amongst many river users along the Macquarie River. Evidence of illegal fishing is easily gathered by a simple walk along the river banks within the city of Dubbo’s CBD.

As a keen recreational fisher, fishing journalist, and President of the Lake Burrendong Classic and Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association, I am an active river user, and I am writing to inform you that compliance regarding fishing laws in this region is nowhere near the percentage that authorities claim it to be.

Illegal set lines (droppers) litter the river, tied to many snags and overhanging branches at local reserves, along with drum nets and the occasional gill net. I have both photographic and high definition film recordings of illegal fishing equipment retrieved from along the Macquarie River, and the images, quite simply put, are shocking!

To give you a recent example, over the Easter weekend I heard of a group of men from West Wyalong who had set up camp downstream of Dubbo on the Macquarie River and had over 100 setlines in a stretch of river. They were observed (and videoed) to be regularly checking the lines and were keeping everything they caught.

It is a common occurrence to see members of the public fixing set lines (droppers) on any given weekend at local reserves, often using carp as live bait (also an illegal method of fishing). Many members of the public seem to hold no regard, or are unaware of the rules and regulations that apply to Central West rivers, and it is hurting the health of the river system immeasurably.

A black market fish trade also exists with undersize fish such as Murray Cod, often illegally caught, being purchased for human consumption by local restaurants. Both cash and free meals are exchanged for those anglers, primarily youths, who drop off their catch for the restaurants to use. Commercial sale of native freshwater fish is also illegal under the Fisheries Management Act (1994).   

At present, there are just two fisheries officers assigned to service the Macquarie Region. This area covers some 25% of NSW, including the Dubbo region. That’s one quarter of the state managed by two people, and at present one of those staff members has been seconded to work in another region. In my 25 years of fishing the Macquarie River, I have not once seen a Fisheries Compliance Officer on the water, and I believe that this is due to the large area they are assigned to service. What assurances can you give me that this disastrous shortfall of staff will be addressed in the shortest possible timeframe?

I note that this issue has been raised previously through ACoRF at Meeting 45 – Thursday 11 December 2008, in Other Business (12) section g, available through the NSW DPI website. In this section Trust funded Fisheries Officers vacancies were discussed. I believe that the extra staff needed to ensure compliance in the Macquarie region should come from the Government, not the trust fund given that these staff are operating under state legislation.

I also take exception to the reported compliance rate of 93% summarised by Mr. Pat Tully. After the level of illegal activity I have personally witnessed I would suggest that the number is significantly lower.

If the health of the river and the future of recreational fishing are to grow for the better, we must see some form of compliance exercised in this region. Through my positions indicated above I have learnt that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has determined that native fish populations currently stand at 10% of pre-European levels, and one of the causes of this dramatic decline is over-fishing.

It’s easy to see from the information I have provided that over-fishing by many anglers is still occurring. Not only is the fishery suffering but it is making the experiences of anglers doing the right thing less enjoyable. There simply must be more Fisheries Officers employed by your department to work within the Macquarie Region.

If we are to see a change for the better in this region, compliance operations must be carried out to ensure that the river’s native fish populations are managed more sustainably.

I urge you to address this major deficiency in the service NSW Fisheries should be providing.

As this is an important issue I have taken the liberty of cc’ing in key angling stakeholder bodies to this email to make them aware of the situation. I trust that your response will also be addressed to them.

 

Sincerely

 

Matt Hansen



Matt Hansen. Dubbo Catches and the Central West Angler Author. Lake Burrendong Classic President- Not for profit Catch and Release annual comp- Easter every year. All proceeds to re stocking. www.iwra.com.au
Sustainable Fishing - Not Freezer Filling!

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Re: Illegal Fishing
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2011, 11:15:45 PM »
The first dubbo cub pack retrieved an illegal and abandoned drum net, complete with rotting native fish carcasses in it, on Clean up Australia Day 2011, within site of the cities CBD! This again demonstartes how some members of th public have complete disregard for the law. Matt Hansen

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Re: Illegal Fishing
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 04:22:08 AM »
Grubs.

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Re: Illegal Fishing
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2011, 08:25:27 AM »
Bloody disgusting Matt.  Hope you stir up a hornets nest.

Gordon

 

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