Big fine for small barramundi

Barramundi-Lates-calcarifer

A commercial fisher who admitted he had undersize barramundi because he didn’t want to waste them has been convicted and fined $6,000 in the Bowen Magistrates Court.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Robert Ibell said two thirds of the Ayr-based fisher’s catch was undersize when officers intercepted his vessel at Upstart Bay in September 2015. “A total of 22 barramundi were found on board the boat – 13 whole fish were undersized and nine had been filleted,” Mr Ibell said.“All fish had been caught using commercial fishing nets. “The fisher told QBFP officers the fish were dead in the nets and he didn’t believe in throwing undersize fish back and wasting them.”

He was charged with unlawfully possessing 22 regulated fish in contravention of the Fisheries Act. The court took into account the fisher’s recent history of commercial fishing offences, recorded a conviction and fined him $6,000 plus $86.40 in court costs.

Mr Ibell urged all fishers to correctly measure their catch to ensure it complies with size limits which are in place to protect fish stocks for future generations. “The minimum size for barramundi is 58 cm with a maximum size limit of 120 cm,” he said. The annual closed season for barramundi is currently underway along Queensland’s East Coast and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

If you suspect illegal fishing, whether seen in person or online, report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. Don’t engage the person, as this can compromise an investigation.

For more information on Queensland fishing rules, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free ‘Qld Fishing’ app from Apple and Google app stores. Follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@FisheriesQld).

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