A commercial marine scale fisher who took and attempted to sell undersize vongole (mud cockles) has been handed a hefty penalty for his illegal haul.
Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) Fisheries Officers inspected the fisher’s catch at a fish processing premise in November 2017, which revealed he had caught and intended to sell 62.6 kilograms of undersize vongole.
Tony Custance of Elliston pleaded guilty in the Port Lincoln Magistrates Court in September to catching and attempting to sell the undersize vongole. He was convicted on both counts, receiving fines and penalties totalling more than $7,700.
PIRSA Fisheries & Aquaculture Regional Manager Andrew Carr said the penalty handed down reflected the seriousness with which these matters were treated by the Courts.
"Minimum size limits are in place to ensure fish and other marine species such as vongole have an opportunity to reproduce and are a vital fisheries management tool that underpins fish stock sustainability in South Australian waters," Mr Carr said.
"The lack of care shown to measure fish correctly – particularly by a professional fisherman – is not only disappointing, but simply unacceptable.
"Fisheries Officers, are based all around South Australia, to help protect our stocks and ensure everyone does the right thing as well as educate and inform fishers of the rules in place."
For recreational fishers, information on recreational fishing rules in South Australia is available at www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing, via the SA Recreational Fishing Guide smartphone app available at www.pir.sa.gov.au/recfishingapp or by calling the 24-hour Fishwatch number.
Illegal or suspicious activity can be reported via the SA Recreational fishing smartphone app or by calling Fishwatch on 1800 065 522. Callers can speak to a Fisheries Officer and may choose to remain anonymous.