Gippsland Lakes anglers face illegal netting fines

Two East Gippsland men have been found guilty, fined a total sum of $17,356.64 and had a vessel, motor vehicle and other equipment forfeited in relation to illegal netting in the Gippsland Lakes.

Senior Fisheries Officer Matt Bateson said a Lakes Entrance man pleaded guilty on 25 January in the Bairnsdale Magistrates Court to multiple charges relating to taking fish for sale, using commercial fishing equipment and obtaining financial advantage by deception.

The second man from Nowa Nowa pleaded guilty on the 31 May in the Bairnsdale Magistrates Court also to multiple charges relating to taking fish for sale, using commercial fishing equipment and obtaining financial advantage by deception.

Mr Bateson said the court heard the men colluded to gain a financial advantage by deception by posing as legitimate licensed commercial fishermen and consigning their illegal catch for sale in Melbourne.

In total, the pair made $11,356.64 from the 3,852.5kg of fish they sold.

The pair were convicted and each ordered to pay a pecuniary order of $5678.32, as well as a further $3,000 each. The pair also had various commercial nets and equipment forfeited including a motor vehicle, vessel with outboard motor and trailer, another trailer and scales.

Mr Bateson said the result shows that the courts are taking illegal netting very seriously.

“This crime has an impact on the environment as well as commercial and recreational fisheries who share the resources of the Gippsland Lakes.”

Anyone with information relating to illegal fishing is encouraged to ring the illegal fishing reporting number on 13FISH (133474).

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