25k in fines for exceeding snapper limit

19 February 2014

Two commercial fishers have been caught for exceeding the catch limit by more than 400 kilograms.

Ashley Cupples, of Flinders Park and Eleftheiros Toumazos, of Lockleys both pleaded guilty to exceeding the daily trip limit for snapper.

The conviction follows an inspection by Fisheries Officers in July 2012 of a commercial long line fishing vessel near Black Point in Gulf St Vincent, discovering 1224 kilograms of snapper, well in excess of the 800 kg catch limit in place at the time.

Cupples, the registered master operating the vessel, was ordered to pay fines and costs in excess of $9,000, while Toumazos, the licence holder, was ordered to pay fines and costs in excess of $16,000.

The Court also ordered that the 1224 kg of snapper, worth $8,000, seized by Fisheries Officers be forfeited to the Crown.

The State Government introduced a 500 kg commercial daily trip limit for snapper in 2012 as part of a series of management measures to protect local stocks.

PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture Regional Manager, Randel Donovan, said the convictions send a strong message to industry that non-compliance will not be tolerated.

“Rules and regulations are in place not only to protect the long-term sustainability of the fishery but to ensure all fishers have equitable access to the State’s resources,” he said.

“When the courts issue strong deterrents against those who do the wrong thing it does contribute to helping us achieve this goal.

“Disregard of the rules is taken very seriously and fishers doing the wrong thing may result in their prosecution and their catches being seized.

“Fisheries Officers are always vigilant to ensure those out fishing are doing the right thing. We have various ways of checking fishers’ activities and steps will be taken when people are detected fishing illegally.”

Anyone who spots illegal fishing activity can report it on the 24 hour FISHWATCH number 1800 065 522. Callers can speak to a Fisheries Officer and may choose to remain anonymous.

Alternatively, reports of illegal fishing activity can also be made through the SA Recreation Fishing Guide smartphone app which is suitable for Apple, Windows and Android mobile devices and can be downloaded from www.pir.sa.gov.au/recfishingapp.