A jump in social media activity has prompted a warning to recreational fishers that it is an offence to sell catches of recreationally caught fish.
In the last 12 months, Fisheries Officers have received numerous reports of fishers openly offering recreationally caught fish for sale through social media channels such as Facebook or Gumtree. While no charges have been laid, a number of incidents have been investigated and numerous fishers spoken to by Fisheries officers.
PIRSA Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Operations, Peter Dietman, said fishers need to be aware that heavy penalties could apply to recreational fishers who attempt to sell their catch.
“While some fishers may be unaware this behaviour is illegal, at the other end of the spectrum there are organised groups who do not have commercial fishing licences and deliberately fish under the recreational banner for the purpose of selling that stock.
“While Fisheries Officers will treat each case on its merits, all recreational fishers have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with fishing rules and must be aware that it is against the law to sell or purchase fish unless they have been taken under the proper fishing authority.
“Penalties of up to $50,000 and up to four years imprisonment could apply for cases prosecuted before a court.”
Mr Dietman also warned that investigations not only target fishers who attempt to sell fish, but also those who purchase fish from unlicensed dealers. To avoid being involved in illegal sales he urged seafood consumers to only purchase any fish, shellfish or bait from an authorised seller.
Reports of illegal sales can be made to the 24-hour Fishwatch number on 1800 065 522.