Almost 24kg of illegally purchased seafood has been seized from a shop in Batemans Bay following a tip off.
NSW Department of Primary Industries director of fisheries compliance Patrick Tully said the officers seized cuttlefish, octopus, eastern rock lobsters and abalone, which had allegedly been illegally traded by unlicensed fishers.
“Our investigation indicates that the owner of the premises had bought fish, or exchanged fish for meals, from fishers not authorised to sell their catch,” Mr Tully said.
“Only licensed commercial fishers are allowed to sell their catch and it is illegal to purchase seafood from recreational fishers.
“Black marketing of fish is a serious problem that can impact on legitimate suppliers and adversely affect the sustainability of fish stocks across NSW.”
He said on the other hand commercial fishing was controlled through a strict access and fisheries management system, which was designed to ensure the sustainability of fish species and marine life.
“In addition, commercial fishers provide the community with fresh, safe-to-eat seafood by adhering to rigorous quality control processes,” Mr Tully said.
“This is obviously not the case on the black market.
“If the alleged offender is found guilty, even for a first offence, they could face a maximum penalty of $22,000 or six months imprisonment (or both) for the possession of the illegally purchased seafood.”
Anyone with information on suspected illegal fishing activity is urged to contact their local DPI fisheries office, call the Fisher Watch phone line on 1800 043 536 or report illegal fishing activities online.
For more information visit the DPI website.