Anglers caught in fisheries net

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A TRAWLING expedition by fisheries officers on land and sea netted 144 anglers breaking such rules as catching too many fish, using too many lines and keeping undersized catches.

Despite the number of anglers booked, Fisheries Victoria says its Operation Billit found “the vast majority” of anglers in Western Port and Port Phillip “are doing so legally”.

The operation was targeting snapper anglers but caught one angler with too many calamari and another with abalone.

“We inspected 2100 recreational anglers on the water and at the boat ramps, we detected a total of 144 offenders were detected,” Fisheries Victoria’s Bob Hutton said.

“This was not a covert operation and was widely publicised before it started, so there is no real excuse for those 144 anglers not knowing, or deliberately flouting, fishing regulations.

“One man will be going to court for allegedly exceeding the catch limit of southern calamari and another will face abalone related charges.”

Altogether 39 infringement notices were issued, two relating to exceeding the catch limit of snapper. Those fish were seized and the anglers fined $455 each.

Other offences detected included taking other species below minimum size, which also generated a $455 fine, using more than four lines in marine waters and fishing without a licence.

“All of these rules are outlined in the Recreational Fishing Guide, which is available free from most good tackle stores or by downloading the free ‘Vic Fishing’ app for smartphones,” Mr Hutton said.

Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing can call the 24-hour reporting line 13 3474.

First published in the Western Port News – 26 January 2016

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