Fisheries Victoria has strengthened its force of officers patrolling Victorian waters with the addition of 12 new specially trained staff posted across the state.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said Fisheries Officers provided the front-line defense to protect Victoria’s fisheries for future generations.
'Fisheries Victoria officers are out in force across the state conducting inspections on the water and along our shorelines to ensure fishers are doing the right thing,' Mr Walsh said.
'The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to providing fair and sustainable recreational and commercial fishing opportunities in our state.
'These new Fisheries Officers will work to ensure regulations such as bag and size limits are adhered to, while educating the community and promoting fishing opportunities in Victoria.'
The new staff graduated from Fisheries Victoria’s intensive seven-week course today and will join patrol teams on Monday to begin on-the-job training. Eight fisheries officers (including one senior officer) will be based in Apollo Bay, Portland, Tatura, Mallacoota and Geelong. A further three senior investigators and one intelligence officer will be based in Melbourne.
Mr Walsh said the new Fisheries Officers would join teams patrolling areas popular with snapper anglers over the remainder of the season as well as other fishing hot-spots.
Mr Walsh said the Fisheries Officers went through a rigorous selection and training process.
'Fisheries Victoria Officers are on the front line. They have extensive powers of arrest, search and seizure and we need to ensure we have the right people to exercise those powers and to deal with difficult and potentially stressful situations,' Mr Walsh said.
The Fisheries Officers’ graduation follows the conclusion of Operation Gillie, a compliance operation targeting recreational snapper anglers that ran from 5 October to 12 November.
Mr Walsh said as part of Operation Gillie, Fisheries Officers conducted a total of 4,330 inspections and issued 126 warnings and 77 infringement notices.
'An additional seven briefs of evidence were prepared and a number of offenders will be charged on summons and their matters heard before the courts,' Mr Walsh said.
'Two recreational fishing boats were also seized along with a range of fishing equipment as a result of anglers exceeding the bag limit and, in some cases, concealing their excess catch.
'Most anglers do the right thing, but operations like Operation Gillie serve to protect our fisheries from the small minority who do not.'
by Vic Coalition
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3:14 PM Fri 22 Nov 2013GMT
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