by Hugo Zoller
At the Frankston Magistrates Court last Thursday 20 June, two Melbourne men were each sentenced to three-months imprisonment (suspended for two years) as well as $500 fines and a 12 month ban from all fishing, for exceeding the daily catch limit for squid.
Fisheries Officers intercepted the men – one in his 50’s from Mornington and one in his 60’s from Montrose – very early on Tuesday 19 February at the Mornington pier with a total of 143 squid (otherwise known as ‘southern calamari).
Senior Fisheries Officer Rod Barber said that both men did not have a licence, permit, authority or exemption to take or possess more than the daily catch limit of ten squid each and both had prior history of fisheries offending.
'Both men were consistently catching squid all night and landing them in the same spot on the pier,' Mr Barber said.
'On numerous occasions one of the men returned to store his catch in his vehicle, whilst the other man kept his catch in a backpack out on the pier.'
Mr Barber said that the bag limits were in place to help safeguard the sustainability of the squid resource and ignoring the rules can potentially jeopardise what is a very popular fishery available to all recreational fishers.
'All fishers should be aware that Fisheries Officers will continue to closely monitor fishing in Port Philip Bay especially at times when large quantities are being caught,' he said.
'This latest case also demonstrates that magistrates will not tolerate such behavior and will issue stiff penalties, including custodial sentences for serious offences.'
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing is urged to call the 24-hour fisheries offence reporting line 13 Fish (13 3474)