by Paul Sellars
A Rosebud West man (37) is facing a series of charges for exceeding the daily catch limit for squid and selling it to a local retail outlet.
Victoria the Place to Be logo
The man was arrested at Dromana last week following a four month investigation in which Fisheries Officers allegedly detected him exceeding the daily catch limit for squid on a number of occasions near Sorrento.
Fisheries Officers also observed the man on several occasions concealing the squid in his jacket and selling his catch to the local retail outlet.
The man allegedly sold 7.6kg of squid and 5.8kg of flathead to the retail outlet. A number of the flathead were under the minimum legal size.
The man is to be charged on summons with a range of offences, including exceeding the daily bag limit, taking and possessing undersize fish, hindering or obstructing an Authorised Officer and selling his catch to a retail outlet without a commercial licence to do so.
The operator of the retail outlet is also facing charges in relation to purchasing the squid and fish.
Following the man’s arrest, his vessel, fish, fishing equipment and a sum of cash were seized.
A search of his home also revealed a further 26.4kg of frozen squid in a chest freezer.
Recreational anglers caught selling their fish face fines of up to $14000 and/or six months imprisonment, forfeiture of equipment, boats and vehicles used in the offence and losing fishing privileges for a substantial period of time.
The daily catch limit for squid in Victoria is 10 per person. It is also an offence to attempt to hinder Fisheries Officers in the course of their duties by concealing any fish.
A commercial premises caught purchasing fish taken by a recreational angler can also face fines of up to $28,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. They also face substantial penalties under food safety legislation.
Fisheries Victoria Acting Director of Education and Enforcement Ian Parks said Victoria’s fisheries regulations governing the take of squid were in place to safeguard the fishery and those who ignored the law were jeopardizing the fishery’s sustainability.
'Recreational anglers who illegally sell their catch to retail outlets are also threatening the livelihood of legitimate commercial fishers and creating food safety risks,' Mr Parks said.
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing is urged to call the 24-hour fisheries offence reporting line 13 FISH (13 3474).