Two boats seized for illegal calamari catches

Two boats seized for illegal calamari catches

Queenscliff’s (Vic) fantastic run of calamari has proved too tempting for a couple of fishers who were apprehended, in seperate unrelated incidents, within a week of each other, by Fisheries Officers earlier this month. Both had their boats seized and both will face court on several charges relating to exceeding their bag limits.

In the first instance, Victorian Fisheries Authority Director of Education and Enforcement Ian Parks said a man was observed on three separate days in October during Operation Focus allegedly taking 17, 33 and 38 calamari. “The daily bag limit is 10 per person,” Mr Parks said.

“On one occasion, the man allegedly made two trips in one day with his wife. On the first trip between 6.25am and 10am, the man was observed taking five calamari. He launched his 4.35-metre aluminium boat again at 3.30pm and allegedly took another 12 calamari, including some from within the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park where fishing is not permitted.

“A week later, the man allegedly took eight calamari in the early morning. He returned to the boat ramp to pick up his wife, took another eight, then retrieved his boat and left Queenscliff. In the afternoon, he returned with his wife and allegedly took 17 more calamari, making 33 for the day.

“On Monday, the man allegedly took 18 calamari, retrieved his boat and returned to Melbourne. He came back to Queenscliff in the afternoon with his wife and allegedly took 20 more, making 38 in total.

“Soon after, Fisheries Officers intercepted him at the boat ramp. He initially claimed the 20 calamari were all they’d caught that day and were taken by both himself and his wife. However, during a subsequent interview the man admitted to taking all the calamari himself and being fully aware of the daily bag limit.

“His boat, estimated to be worth $7,000, fishing gear and calamari were seized on the spot and the man will be charged on summons with exceeding the calamari catch limit on three occasions, and various other offences relating to fishing in a marine park and boat safety equipment.”

“Multi-tripping to exceed the daily catch limit and appear compliant at the boat ramp is a deliberate and serious attempt to deceive and is unfair to legitimate recreational and commercial fishers who abide by the rules” Mr Parks added

In a totally unrelated incident less than a week later, Queenscliff’s sizzling calamari season tempted another man to over-indulge resulting in a second boat being seized by Fisheries Officers.

Victorian Fisheries Authority Director of Education and Enforcement, Ian Parks said, on this occasion the man from Hillside in Melbourne’s northwest was observed allegedly taking more than twice the daily bag limit of 10.

“This is a win for Operation Focus, which is cracking down on illegal fishing for calamari on the Bellarine Peninsula,” Mr Parks said.

“Officers also allegedly watched the man throw back two dead calamari he had previously caught only to replace them with two larger calamari just landed. This is known as ‘high-grading’ and is illegal.

“The man then allegedly gave another person a dead calamari by hooking it onto their jig.

“Soon after, the Hillside man was intercepted by Officers at the Queenscliff boat ramp.

“The man’s aluminium boat, estimated to be worth $6000, calamari and fishing gear were all seized on the spot.

“He will be charged on summons with exceeding the calamari catch limit, failing to return unwanted calamari to the water with the least possible harm, and several marine safety offences.”

Mr Parks emphasised that your catch is your own and you cannot claim them under another person’s daily bag limit even if they are aboard your boat.

“Our Fisheries Officers are highly trained and use sophisticated state-of-the-art equipment to detect offenders who threaten the sustainability of our fisheries, which belong to all Victorians.”

To report suspicious or illegal fishing activity call 13FISH (133474) anytime. You can remain anonymous. Make the call and make the difference.