Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) Fisheries Officers have convicted a 31 year old Springvale man and fined him $1000 after they caught him with eight times the legal catch limit of pipis at Venus Bay on New Year’s Eve 2011.
Illegal pipi gathering
He was in possession of 17 litres of pipis and did not produce a valid recreational fishing licence to an authorised officer for inspection, within the specified time as requested.The Korumburra Magistrates Court last week heard the catch limit for pipis at Venus Bay was two litres per person.
The interception by the officers was part of the state-wide compliance operation, codenamed ‘Abyss’, which focussed on the intertidal zone and the fishing restrictions that apply to the zone.The intertidal zone is an important link in marine ecosystems and the removal of any invertebrate animals from this zone represents a loss of food for other species and is therefore restricted, or prohibited in some areas.
The intertidal zone is defined as the strip of land from the high tide mark to where the water is at least two metres deep at any given time. All the pipis were seized at the time and safely returned to the water alive. Acting Regional Fisheries Officer Chris Angwin said officers monitored activity at Venus Bay,especially during the periods when large numbers of visitors were expected.
'The majority of Pipi collectors adhere to the regulations and compliance rates monitored since 2008 have consistently been around 90 per cent,' Mr Angwin said.'Fisheries Victoria maintains instructional signs at all Venus Bay Beach access points and Beach .One also has a detailed series of five signs where visitors and locals can learn more about the pipi and how everyone can contribute to the sustainability of the fishery.
'People found to be breaching the regulations are dealt with by official warnings, infringements or possible court attendance, depending on the circumstances.'Members of the public are reminded to contact the 13 FISH offence reporting line (13 3474) if they see or hear anything they believe is in breach of fisheries rules.