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Lobster Robbers Feel The Pinch

NEW ZEALAND - Two men have been apprehended at Kurnell for possession of live eastern rock lobsters alleged to have been taken in illegally set traps.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers from southern Sydney mounted an intricate surveillance operation after receiving intelligence about the illegal use of unmarked traps in the waters of Bate Bay, near Cronulla.

After several weeks of surveillance Fisheries officers pounced on one man after he allegedly took lobsters illegally and was in the process of offloading them to another man.

The officers seized a number of live lobsters and abalone along with four illegally sized and unmarked lobster traps recovered from the water.

Several other matters including daily bag limit and possession offences were also detected.

New South Wales (NSW) DPI Director Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton said despite this kind of activity being difficult to detect, fisheries officers were up to the task.

Our officers are well equipped, well trained and use advanced techniques to uncover these types of offences, Mr Tritton said.

The alleged offenders now face being charged with a range of lobster related offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1994; most of which carry penalties up to $22,000 and/or six months imprisonment."

People who flout the laws are disadvantaging others who are entitled to their share of the states resources, he said.

Only two eastern rock lobsters per day may be taken recreationally in NSW using a single, lawful lobster trap or by hand picking. Only one trap may be used by a person at any one time.

Lobster traps are required to be marked with a float on the surface of the water that is connected to the trap by a rope or line and which is clearly labelled with the users name and address and the letters 'LT'.

Hand picking may only be carried out with a bare or gloved hand when snorkelling. It is prohibited to take lobsters with SCUBA, surface supplied air or with a spear, spear gun, hook, snare or other implement.

Details of bag and size limits are available at ww.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries and the NSW Recreational Saltwater Fishing Guide 2011.

Anyone with information concerning possible illegal fishing should report it to the Fishers Watch Line on 1800 043 536, on-line at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au or to your nearest fisheries office.

the Fish Site Editor

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