Fishermen caught poaching have been dealt record fines and sentenced to jail terms for illegal catches of abalone, Murray cod and golden perch in NSW waterways.
Department of Primary Industries undercover fisheries officers have trapped 200 fish poachers since December.
Fisheries compliance director Glenn Tritton, said there had been a jump in prosecutions, penalty notices and written warnings, particularly for abalone catch offences.
Mr Tritton said the wet weather might have contributed to the increase in illegal fishing of Murray cod and golden perch because the species are easier to catch after floods.
Most of the fishermen were caught with many times the legal limit of abalone or for failing to hold a recreational fishing licence; some were found with ute-loads of illegal equipment including traps, nets and lines. Last month a Sydney man, 47, was fined $70,000 - the biggest in NSW for a fishing offence - and was jailed for a year after officers caught him with 473 abalone. The legal limit is two.
'If you are fishing illegally, there is more and more chance of being caught and if caught, you're going to find yourself with a significant penalty,' Mr Tritton said.
More at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au
by Department of Primary Industries
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10:45 AM Mon 19 Mar 2012GMT
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