NSW: Illegal fishing near power stations sparks action

A four-month fisheries compliance operation in the Hunter and Central Coast regions has resulted in the detection of 57 offences relating to illegal fishing at the hot water outlet canals of NSW power stations.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) fisheries officers targeted the Eraring and Vales Point power stations on Lake Macquarie and Munmorah power station on Budgewoi Lake, on the Central Coast.

The operation involved 11 fisheries officers from the Hunter, Central Coast and Port Stephens Districts and the State-wide Operations and Investigations Group. Police officers from the NSW Marine Area Command also provided valuable assistance during the operation.

NSW DPI Director Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton, said fisheries officers detected a range of offences including; taking fish from waters protected from recreational fishing, possessing fish illegally taken and possessing prohibited sized fish.

Mr Tritton said closures were in place to protect the large numbers of juvenile fish which aggregate in and around the warm waters of the outlet canals.

“The canals and adjacent waters are closed to all methods of fishing from 1 May to 31 August each year between the hours of 6pm and 6am,” Mr Tritton said.  

“On the spot fines of $500 apply to those found to be fishing or in possession of fishing gear in, on or adjacent to the closed waters.”

Mr Tritton said the closures were designed to protect the long term viability of fish stocks in these waterways.

“Maintaining our fish stocks at a sustainable level is in the interests of all recreational and commercial fishers,” Mr Tritton said.

“But some people continue to act in their own interest and ignore the rules despite the efforts of our officers.

“The closures are heavily signposted to warn fishers of the night time restrictions and officers also patrol the areas during the day to educate fishers about the need to fish responsibly and within the rules,” he said.

Mr Tritton said anyone with information concerning possible illegal fishing in NSW, should report it to the Fishers’ Watch Phone Line on 1800 043 536, on-line or alternatively to your nearest fisheries office.

All information given in good faith will be treated confidentially.