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Illegal Lobster Catch Seized

by Ellen Hardy
08 May 2008, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - A commercial fisherman from the mid north coast of New South Wales is to appear in court on several charges following what is believed to be the states largest seizure of illegally taken rock lobsters.

Huge haul of rock lobster seized

Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said the fisherman would be charged following a major operation during the past week along the coastline between Crescent Head and Port Macquarie, which recovered almost one tonne of rock lobsters.

"This operation involved 14 fisheries compliance officers from the Department of Primary Industries and the Fisheries patrol vessel ‘Sydney Swan’," Mr Macdonald said.

"The result was more than 930 eastern rock lobsters with a total weight of approximately 950 kg and an estimated retail value of more than $60,000 found in seven holding pens.

The lobsters seized during the operation.

"The good news is that all these lobsters have been returned to the water alive."

The alleged offender is likely to face a large number of charges under the Fisheries Management Act 1994.

Mr Macdonald said the Iemma Government will continue to bring fishers who flaunt the law before the courts as their actions threaten an important and valuable state-wide industry, and also damage the marine environment.

"Rock lobster is a quota managed fishery and the accurate recording and tagging of the catch is an essential requirement in maintaining the integrity and sustainability of the fishery," he said.

"The scale of this operation is a reflection of NSW DPI’s continued commitment and capacity to protect the State’s fisheries."

Ellen Hardy