FISHERS who flout the law in the Mid North Coast are now on notice, after Minister for Agriculture, Adam Marshall, revealed a more 44 per cent increase in fines since 2018, as part of the NSW Government's blitz on protecting and enhancing the state's aquatic resources.
Last Thursday, Mr Marshall said there were 3,172 fines issued in 2020 under the Fisheries Management Act 1994, up from 2,782 in 2019 and 2,230 in 2018.
"This crack-down is part of our continued commitment to ensure a sustainable future for fishing," Mr Marshall said.
"Our fishers are incredibly passionate and the vast majority of them do the right thing, but unfortunately a small minority think they can get away with breaking the rules.
"Rules are there for a reason and the Fisheries Management Act 1994 protects and promotes access to resources, including for Aboriginal cultural fishing purposes.
"I won't apologise for coming down on repeat offenders.
"Issuing fines is not about Government walking around with a big stick, but rather working with the community to ensure our fishing resources are available for everyone, including our future generations who will also love to wet a line."
Mr Marshall said Fisheries Officers worked closely with various fishing communities and run compliance programs across the state, while also promoting the sustainable growth of commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture.
Organiser of Seabreeze Beach Hotel Fishing Club at South West Rocks, Peter Askew, welcomed the enforcement.
"They are cracking down rightfully, making sure everyone's following the rules on bag limits and species size," Mr Askew said.
"When the pubs open, we do monthly competitions, and we have our own limits which are usually less than Fisheries, plus we have a five per species maximum, whereas Fisheries is usually ten, we are big supporters in regulating."
The fishing club is still running a 'beat the board' competition, and also run family friendly competitions which cater for all age groups.
You can see their Facebook group at Seabreeze Beach Hotel Fishing Club.
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