PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture has warned recreational river fishers to ensure they are complying with fishing rules and regulations after more than 80 pieces of illegal fishing equipment was seized in recent weeks.
Since the start of April, Fisheries Officers patrolling the River Murray between Katarapko Creek and Old Customs House have seized a range of illegal and unmarked nets and issued numerous warnings to fishers.
Senior Fisheries Officer for PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, Dave Grant, said officers had been shocked by the spike in illegal fishing activity and would be conducting further targeted patrols in the area.
“It’s extremely disappointing to see this type of behaviour, particularly given the number of local fishers involved in these incidents,” Mr Grant said.
“Ignorance is not an excuse and fishers need to research local fishing rules before heading out on the water – that includes understanding the type of gear and number of devices you are legally allowed to use.
“We all have an important role to play in protecting the sustainability of fish stocks and fishers need to take ownership of their responsibilities as these rules are in place to ensure resources can be shared between users and enjoyed by future generations.”
Some of the issues encountered during recent patrols include:
• Incorrect use of buoys, which are required to be white and at least 2 L in volume.
• Unmarked Yabby nets, which should be clearly marked with the owner’s name and address on a tag or the white buoy.
• Use of excess Yabby nets and/or operating nets belonging to another person – fishers are only able to operate up to three opera house nets at any one time.
• Use of Yabby nets (mainly opera house nets) without entrance funnels (7.5 cm rings max), which are required to restrict other species from entering the trap.
Mr Grant said it was particularly important that people understood that equipment such as drum and gill nets were considered strictly commercial, and it was an offence for recreational fishers to operate this gear in the river.