Group busted over huge illegal haul

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The illegal haul of fish weighed about 180kg. Image: VFA

FOUR people will face court after a night patrol by Melbourne fisheries officers detected one boat with more than 480 fish aboard and illegal fishing equipment.

Fisheries officers were patrolling in the early hours when they observed a boat, which had launched from Werribee South, allegedly using a trammel net and often operating without a light.

Director of Education and Enforcement at Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) Ian Parks said when the boat was retrieved at the ramp, officers intercepted it and allegedly discovered 480 bream, seven estuary perch and one flounder.

“The haul of fish weighed about 180kg and was located by officers in two large fish bins throughout the floor of the boat along with six trammel nets that measured between 24 and 102 metres,” Parks said.

“Officers seized the vehicle, boat, trailer, fish, nets and all fishing equipment.

“The four people involved will appear in court to face offences including using and possessing a prohibited trammel net to take fish, exceeding the daily catch limit, possessing undersize fish as well as a range of safety offences.

“Mesh nets, including trammel nets, are prohibited equipment and cannot be used in any Victorian waters.”

If you see or suspect illegal fishing in Victoria, call VFA’s 24/7 reporting service, 13 FISH (13 3474), to speak directly to a fisheries officer.

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