Fishy business


Fishy business

POACHERS are threatening the population of abalone and other fish at Inverloch, according to a concerned fisherman.

Community opposition to the plundering of natural resources is reaching boiling point, with some locals concerned physical confrontations could occur in a bid to stop the action.

The angler, who wished to remain anonymous, said divers have been taking extreme amounts of abalone around Flat Rocks and The Caves west of Inverloch.

He said the poachers had also been fishing in the Bunurong Marine Park where angling is banned, and often fish in the evening or at dawn to minimise their chance of being caught.

“They come out of the water with spear guns and they get stroppy when challenged,” he said.

“They have a habit of raping and pillaging our coastline.”

The man said cases have been reported to Fisheries Victoria but he said the authority did not have enough staff to adequately cover the coastline from Cowes to Yarram.

Fisheries Victoria’s Chris Angwin, based at Cowes, said Fisheries were not aware of poaching at Inverloch and urged the community to report incidences to the Fisheries hotline 13 FISH, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take reports of offences.

“That information will then go to the appropriate officer to investigate,” he said.

“If people do not inform us of these encounters, then we do not know about them. We need to know as soon as possible what has occurred and vehicle details, as that is really crucial information in order for officers to target patrols.”

Catching more than 100 abalone is an indictable offence that could result in jail time. A fine of $450 applies for minor offences.

“Anything major is handled by way of summons and handled in court,” Mr Angwin said.

Under the Fisheries Act, abalone is classed as a priority species given it attracts a high return on the black market and therefore is more prone to poaching.

In Victorian waters other than Port Phillip Bay, anglers may not catch more than five abalone in a day, of which no more than two can be greenlip abalone.

Simply being caught fishing in a marine park results in an on the spot fine of $300 and taking a fish in a marine park attracts further penalties.

Underwater beauty: poachers are having a negative impact on the biodiversity of the Bunurong Marine Park between Inverloch and Cape Paterson. The park is a popular dive spot for divers keen to conserve wildlife, as pictured. Courtesy of Museum Victoria/Parks Victoria.

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Posted by on Jun 6 2017. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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