A RECREATIONAL fisher in the Limestone Coast has become the first person to be caught and fined for breaking the rules regarding South Australia’s snapper closure.
It is alleged the snapper was taken from Jones Bay near Cape Douglas, where an interstate man was detected during a routine inspection by patrolling fisheries officers.
The man was issued with a $375 fine as he had caught and retained the snapper but did not hold any recreational snapper tags.
Snapper fishing is banned across South Australia except for the Limestone Coast where strict control measures are in place.
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said this is a reminder of how seriously the Marshall Liberal Government is taking the protection of snapper stocks.
“You cannot fish for snapper as a recreational fisher if you have not been issued with recreational tags – it’s that simple,” Mr Whetstone.
“Snapper numbers in our gulfs are dangerously low – the science and anecdotal evidence from fishers all tell us this – and strong action had to be taken to protect the fishery for the future,” he said.
“The approach we have taken has kept the South East region open for fishing to all sectors, but has set control measures such as a total allowable catch for the region that includes a total allowable recreational catch which has been managed through the snapper tag ballot.
“These are strict controls, but they are necessary and I urge fishers to be aware of the requirement for snapper tags and the consequences if these rules are flouted, which can include a fine or even prosecution.
“All snapper tags have now been allocated for the 2020 season, so if you have not been successful in getting tags through the ballot I would encourage you to enjoy fishing for snapper on one of the many charter boat experiences in the South East.”
Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell has called on the government to scrap the strict control measures, which provide just 303 amateur anglers from the Limestone Coast, Murray Bridge and Kangaroo Island areas a limited number of tags to catch snapper in South East waters.
More than 3624 people applied for tags in the first recreational snapper fishing ballot, with 16pc of those receiving the five tags for use from February 1 to October 31.
Just 64 Mount Gambier fishers were successful, with 11 anglers from Port MacDonnell, 14 Robe fishers and 37 Kingston fishers able to catch snapper this year.
Suspicious or illegal fishing activity can be reported to the 24-hour Fishwatch hotline on 1800 065 522 or via the SA Recreational Fishing Guide app.
Callers can choose to remain anonymous.