By Melissa Blewitt
Murray Cod were seized and offences detected during inland patrols blitz in the Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo areas over the summer holiday period.
In the month of January, fisheries officers inspected 164 fishers across the Condobolin, Lake Cargelligo, Cowra and Forbes areas. Disappointingly 45 (27 per cent) of these were found committing 47 offences.
Penalty notices totalling $7,075 were issued for the offences detected during these patrols.
These offences included Fail to pay fishing fee (license); Possession of prohibited size fish; Possess more than two handlines in inland waters; Exceed daily limits; Mutilate restricted species of fish; Possess prohibited fishing gear; As master of boat not prevent serious fisheries offences; and Take fish from declared (closed) waters.
In detecting these offences fisheries officers seized 14 prohibited size Murray Cod measuring 42centimetres to 53 centimetres. Fortunately seven of these were found in live condition and were carefully returned to the water. The legal length for Murray Cod is between 55 centimetres and 75 centimetres and have a daily bag limit of two and possession limit of four.
The most serious of offending involved four people in possession of seven prohibited size Murray cod measuring between 42 centimetres and 53 centimetres found in a keeper net in the Lachlan River near Forbes.
The group was collectively issued penalty notices totalling $2,000 and a number of written warnings.
Furthermore, Officers in the South West of the state recently conducted a vessel patrol of the mid to lower reaches of the Murray River between Murrabit and Euston – including the Swan Hill and Tooleybuc areas.
They covered a distance of about 350 river kilometres over three days.
Officers detected a total of 40 offences including Fail to pay fishing fee (licence); Possess more than two handlines in inland waters; Possession of prohibited size fish; Possession of threatened species (Silver Perch); Exceed daily limits; and using live finfish as bait.
Seizures made include 11 Murray cod, four silver perch and 16 carp being used as live bait. Penalty notices totalling $8,400 were issued for the offences detected.
Members of the public are urged to report suspected illegal fishing activity by calling the NSW DPI Fishers Watch service on 1800 043 536 or report it online at https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/compliance.