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DEPI Fisheries Officers seek culprits in Gellibrand River opening

by Melanie Curtis, DPI Victoria on 20 Apr 2013
Fisheries are seeking help from the public DPI Victoria .
DEPI Fisheries Officers are looking for anyone with information to assist them in the identification of the person responsible for making an illegal opening in the mouth of the Gellibrand River on the afternoon of Saturday 13 April, 2013.

The unlawful opening of the river has had dire consequences for a local licensed commercial eel fisherman.

Director of Education and Enforcement for Fisheries Victoria, Ian Parks said Fisheries Victoria was concerned that as well as the causing the deaths of a number of fish including salmon, flounder and mullet, the lawful activities of a licensed commercial eel fisherman have been severely hindered.

'The fisherman has had a number of nets destroyed and been prevented from further fishing due to the unilateral actions of an individual,' Mr Parks said.

'The illegal opening has meant the loss of over $2,500 worth of fyke (eel) nets.

Mr Parks said that as a result of the rapid decrease in the river level, the fisherman has also incurred a serious loss of potential income.

'Members of the community need to be aware that actions resulting in the preventing or hindering of lawful fishing activities can attract penalties of over $5,000, up to three years imprisonment and the seizure of any equipment used including tractors.'

Local Fisheries Officers have interviewed a suspect but are continuing their inquiries and are seeking assistance from anyone who witnessed the illegal opening.

Witnesses are encouraged to call DPI Fisheries at Apollo Bay on (03) 5237 2400 with any DPI Victoria website
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