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State of Origin Influencing NSW Fishing Offences

27 June 2012, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - Following a surge in the number of prohibited fishing gear offences by Queensland residents, fishers from north of the border are urged to check local fishing regulations before fishing in New South Wales (NSW).

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), Director of Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton, said a disproportionate number of Queenslanders had been caught illegally using cast nets in NSW, indicating that they might be unaware of the rules in this state.

"In 2010-11 there were a significant number of offences in the far north of the state for the possession of prohibited fishing gear, particularly for use or possession of cast nets by Queensland residents," he said.

"Fisheries officers are still finding this to be an ongoing problem despite continued efforts to inform fishers of NSW fishing regulations.

"I remind all visiting fishers that it is their responsibility to have a NSW recreational fishing licence, know the regulations in this state and abide by those rules."

The use of cast nets - circular nets designed to capture schools of small fish by throwing the net over them - are prohibited in all waters of NSW because of their potential to deplete baitfish stocks and take large quantities of prohibited size fish.

"Cast nets are legal in Queensland tidal waters but not in freshwaters, while in NSW their use or possession is prohibited in, or adjacent to, any waters," Mr Tritton said.

"If youre found by a fisheries officer using, or in possession of a cast net illegally in NSW or Queensland, substantial penalties may apply.

"Fisheries officers are authorised to seize any net used illegally in NSW and may issue a penalty notice of A$500, or even a court attendance notice where offenders risk facing a maximum penalty of A$22,000 and 6 months imprisonment for a first offence."

On the spot fines of A$500 apply for the use of cast nets in freshwaters in Queensland.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Manager Michael Mikitis from Fisheries Queensland said anyone travelling interstate should brush up on the fishing rules before casting a line in that state.

"Bag and size limits can vary considerably between states, so it's important both Queensland and NSW residents know where to obtain the right information," he said.

"Queensland recreational fishing rules can be found on the Fisheries Queensland website while details of all legal recreational fishing methods are available on the NSW DPI website."

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