Big weekend for Cockle fishers at McLoughlins Beach

Big weekend for Cockle fishers at McLoughlins Beach

A recent weekend operation by Fisheries Officers at McLoughlins Beach in Gippsland (Vic) saw many recreational fishers lawfully collecting cockles, however some illegal activity was reported with catches seized.

Victorian Fisheries Authority Director of Education and Enforcement Ian Parks said two officers accessed McLoughlins Beach by jet skis due to the low tide, which is when cockle fishers typically walk the flats.

“They checked 16 cockle fishers on the Saturday and were pleased that everyone who required a recreational fishing licence had one, and nobody had exceeded the catch limit of 5 litres per person per day,” Mr Parks said.

“All the fishers collecting cockles on the first day were using legal methods, hands and feet, and no digging tools such as shovels or trowels were observed.

“On the Sunday, Fisheries Officers worked with Victoria Police on what they reported to be one of the busiest days ever for cockle collection in the area.

“A significant number of inspections were done on the Sunday and several people had either exceeded the catch limit and/or did not have a recreational fishing licence.

“A concerned member of the public also made a timely call to 13FISH to provide accurate information that enabled Fisheries Officers and Police to intercept a car outside of town.

“Upon inspection, officers discovered 21 litres of cockles in the vehicle. The catch was seized and the occupants will receive infringement notices for exceeding the catch limit and not having a recreational fishing licence.”

Mr Parks said it is important that fishers know the catch limits, licensing requirements, and permitted methods of harvest before departing on a trip to the water.

“We want Victorians to enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends, and to do it sustainably so we can all enjoy these wonderful fisheries in the years ahead.”

If you see or suspect illegal fishing, report it to 13FISH (133474) anytime. You can remain anonymous.