Media release: Illegal mussel haul nets fine
Thursday, February 10, 2011
A 59-year-old Paynesville man has been convicted and fined $1000 for harvesting an illegal volume of mussels from the Gippsland Lakes and attempting to sell them at a farmers market.
The man pleaded guilty in the Sale Magistrates Court on Monday to three charges relating to exceeding the recreational bag limit for mussels, attempting to sell them without authority and possessing commercial fishing equipment.
Department of Primary Industries Senior Fisheries Officer Errol Parmigiani said the man was apprehended at the Sales Farmers Market on September 18 last year when fisheries officers seized a total of 45 litres of black mussels which he was offering for sale.
Mr Parmigiani said the man later admitted during an interview that he had on the previous day taken the mussels from pylons in the Gippsland Lakes at Paynesville.
Fisheries officers later located and seized a 9.3 metre hauling net from the man’s Paynesville residence.
He was convicted and fined $1000 and ordered to pay a further $94 in costs. The seized mussels and net were forfeited.
Mr Parmigiani said there were strict regulations governing the size of recreational fishing catches and stiff penalties applied for exceeding bag limits and attempting to sell recreational catches.
Recreational fishers can only take up to 10 litres of mussels per day. If they are shucked or split, then the limit is one litre of meat, he said.
The exception to this rule is Port Phillip Bay where none can be taken from the inter-tidal zone.
Under no circumstances can recreational fishers sell their catch.
Mr Parmigiani said molluscs, including mussels, could be potentially harmful to the health of those consuming them if not handled and stored correctly.
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing activity is urged to call the 24 hour reporting line, 13-FISH (13 3474).
Media contact: Paul Sellars DPI Melbourne (03) 9658 4078