by Alan Everett
After being caught with dozens of flathead at Bemm River last December, three men from Sale have been placed on 12-month good behaviour bonds and are heavily out of pocket.
The men have appeared in the Orbost Magistrates Court facing charges of catching and keeping 59 flathead (57 of which were dusky flathead) and two of them were also found guilty of fishing without a licence.
The daily bag limit for dusky flathead is five per person.
The two without licences were ordered to donate $500, and the other man $200, to East Gippsland Fishcare, a volunteer group which focuses on fisheries compliance through education.
Their fishing gear, worth an estimated $2500, was forfeited and they also had to pay hundreds of dollars in legal costs.
Senior Fisheries Officer David Bull said the court outcome was a good result for the local fishing community and continued compliance efforts to ensure the future sustainability of this resource for all anglers.
'Anglers are reminded it is their responsibility to accurately identify the species of fish they catch and they should use the Victorian Recreational Fishing Guide to source information regarding catch and size limits,' Mr Bull said.
Anybody who sees or suspects illegal fishing activity is urged to the 24-hour fisheries offence reporting line 13 Fish (13 3474).