Hervey Bay scallop bust: $31,000 in fines and forfeiture
A COMMERCIAL fisher has been fined $10,000 for possessing a large number of undersized scallops, with $21,000 from the proceeds of sale of the scallops forfeited to the state.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol investigator Deryk Smith said a routine inspection of a trawler at Hervey Bay in March last year found more than a quarter of the scallops were undersized.
"It is important that fishers accurately measure their product to protect stocks and give scallops being returned to the water the best possible chance of survival," he said.
"We recognise that accidental chipping and breakages of legal shell post catch can occur and consideration is given to this however in this instance, the operator was found with a significant quantity of undersized scallop.
"While it appears that this was not a deliberate act, there is no excuse for not complying with the rules.
"The penalty handed down by the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court, which includes a $10,000 fine and $21,595 in proceeds of the sale forfeited, sends a strong message to fishers to do the right thing."
Mr Smith said under the Fisheries Regulation, a person must not take, possess or sell more than 7% of scallop that is less than 9 cm for that time of year.
"Scallops are an important part of the east coast trawl fishery and any undersized scallop that is gathered must be immediately returned to the water," he said.
"The taking of illegal scallops is a potential threat to the continued sustainability of the fishery."
QBFP will continue to conduct patrols and routine checks throughout the Hervey Bay area.
If members of the public suspect illegal fishing they should report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116 and refrain from engaging the person because it could compromise an investigation.
For more information on Queensland's fishing rules, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 132 523 or download the free 'Qld fishing' smart phone app from Apple and Google app stores.