Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) Fisheries officers recently conducted numerous high profile patrols to coincide with trout opening weekend in rivers and streams between Eildon and Trawool.
Fisheries officers inspected over 300 anglers on both land and water during the opening weekend detecting a number of individuals committing a variety of offences. Regional Fisheries Officer Mike Hosking said the offences included fishing without a valid recreational fishing licence, using prohibited bait, taking undersized Spiny Freshwater Crayfish during the closed season, using commercial fishing equipment and fishing in prohibited areas.
'The Fisheries offence reporting line 13FISH (133 474) also proved invaluable in the days leading up to the weekend with information from the Victorian public leading to a number of offenders apprehended for offences,' Mr Hosking said.
'Some of these offences included fishing prior to the official season opening, taking fish during the closed season, exceeding bag limits and using prohibited bait.
Mr Hosking said generally anglers had come well prepared for the weekend with most holding valid recreational fishing licences. 'It’s only a small number of anglers who think they won’t be inspected and take the risk of fishing
without a valid licence,' Mr Hosking said.
Meanwhile, two men, who were apprehended in separate incidents at Easter for exceeding their bag limits at Buxton, were sentenced in the Mansfield Magistrates Court last week.' One of the men had also been found to have taken thirty trout - which is six times the bag limit – as well using prohibited bait and littering.
Both men were convicted and fined $2500 each, and were ordered to pay costs. In addition, one of the men had his seized fishing equipment forfeited by the Court. Mr Hosking said bag and size limits apply to many fish species in local waters and anglers should check the Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide, available free from most tackle stores.
'The Recreational Fishing Guide mobile phone application is now freely available which makes it even easier to check the rules and regulations, while also providing anglers with the ability to purchase a fishing licence on-line,' he said.
'Uniform and plain clothed Fisheries officers continue to patrol Victoria’s inland waterways to ensure anglers comply with recreational catch limits, legal equipment and the regulations.'