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Hard Line for Illegal Crabbing

by 5m Editor
24 December 2008, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - Coffs Harbour Department of Primary Industries Fisheries officers will be taking a hard line on illegal crabbing offences over the coming holiday season.

DPI Fisheries and Solitary Islands Marine Parks officers have already seized more than 350 illegal crab traps in the past month.

"Crabs are usually quiet in the winter months but increase in activity over the warmer months of the year," said DPI Supervising Fisheries Officer Ian Stockton.

"Officers will be targeting all fishing activity but crabbing offences will be a priority over this summer period.

"Crabs are heavily targeted by both commercial and recreational fishers.

"Unfortunately, a diverse black market exists, which is common to many high value seafood species."

Mr Stockton said consumers should buy crabs that are sold from reputable fish co-ops, retailers and restaurants.

"Don't hesitate to ask the staff where the crabs are from," Mr Stockton said.

"New South Wales Commercial fishers must land their catches in accordance with stringent NSW Food Authority regulations, so buyers can feel safe that seafood legally taken for sale in NSW is of the highest standard."

In most areas recreational anglers are permitted one crab trap and five hoop or lift nets, commonly known as witches hats.

Although some local closures exist, it is best to check with the local DPI Fisheries office or the Solitary Islands Marine Parks Office if fishing within the Solitary Islands Marine Park.

"Commercial fishers are reminded that commercial fish traps must be marked with the fisher's registration number and the letter 'C'," Mr Stockton said.

5m Editor