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Boats seized for illegal Calamari Hauls

by Justine Severin 3 Jan 06:43 UTC
Illegal Calamari Hauls © Justine Severin

As part of Operation Jazz, Fisheries Officers have seized two boats and four men will face charges relating to the alleged illegal harvest of calamari near Queenscliff in recent months.

Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO Travis Dowling said more than 210 recreational anglers had been inspected during the operation and most were found to be doing the right thing.

"Port Phillip Bay is in great shape and Target One Million is committed to getting one million Victorians fishing by 2020. Fishing for calamari, snapper and King George whiting is stronger than ever and we want to keep it that way, which needs everyone to fish responsibly and abide by bag and size limits," Mr Dowling said.

"Operation Jazz ran from October to December 2018 during the peak calamari spawning season when large aggregations gather around the southern end of Port Phillip Bay.

"Fisheries Officers will allege that a boat was used, on two separate days, by various men known to each other, to take more than the daily bag limit of 10 calamari per person. It will be alleged the men made several boat trips in one day, taking calamari on each trip, an activity commonly referred to as multi-tripping.

"One of the men was observed making three separate boat trips on a single day. That vessel was later allegedly found to contain 22 calamari concealed within the vessel.

"Several of the men will be charged with exceeding the catch limit, hindering Fisheries Officers, providing false and misleading information and matters relating to marine safety. They face maximum penalties of up to $27,000 and 12 months imprisonment.

"In another instance, a man had his boat seized for allegedly multi-tripping. Having launched at Sorrento, he drove the boat to Queenscliff where he was observed by officers taking calamari. He was subsequently seen taking more calamari and was inspected later in the day having taken more than twice his daily bag limit."

Mr Dowling said some infringements notices were also issued during Operation Jazz, including three to one angler for various offences, worth more $1,100 in total.

If you see or suspect illegal fishing call Fisheries' reporting line 13FISH (133474) anytime. Some of our best intelligence about illegal fishing activity comes from keen recreational anglers, so make the call and make the difference.

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