Three New South Wales commercial fishers have been caught and fined more than $10,000 for unlicensed commercial fishing in South Australian waters.
Mark Newman of Pata, Peter Fogden of Loxton, and Shaun Cox of Pomona, New South Wales, pleaded guilty to engaging in a fishing activity for a commercial purpose whilst not being the holder of a South Australian licence at the Berri Magistrates Court on 10 October 2018.
All three men have commercial licences to fish in New South Wales.
The conviction follows a joint investigation conducted by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries in November 2017, when a number of opera house nets, operated by Mr Newman, Mr Fogden and Mr Cox, were discovered near Chowilla in South Australia.
Mr Newman and Mr Fogden were ordered to pay fines and costs in excess of $7,700, while Mr Cox was ordered to pay fines and costs in excess of $3,000.
PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture Regional Manager Randel Donovan said the conviction should send a strong message to fishers tempted to break the rules.
"Illegal fishing activities undermine the sustainability of our fish stocks and fishers need to be aware that heavy penalties apply to those who choose to disregard the rules," Mr Donovan said.
"In this particular case, Fisheries Officers detected interstate commercial fishers operating for a commercial purpose inside the South Australian border in the Riverland.
"The Court's decision should act as reminder to commercial fishers who operate near the border to be aware of their location and take steps to ensure they are fishing where they are legally entitled to."
The Court also ordered that the 75 opera house nets and floats, seized by Fisheries Officers, be forfeited to the Crown.
Anyone who spots illegal fishing activity can report it on the 24 hour FISHWATCH number 1800 065 522. Callers can speak to a Fisheries Officer and may choose to remain anonymous.
Alternatively, reports of illegal fishing activity can also be made through the SA Recreation Fishing Guide smartphone app.