Heavy fines for illegal fishing

Three Melbourne men have been convicted and fined thousands of dollars for illegal fishing in northeast Victoria.

The Mansfield Magistrates Court was told a 69-year-old man from Mill Park scuffled with Fisheries Officers during a routine fishing licence check on the Goulburn River, between Alexandra and Thornton, in October last year.

Prosecutor Geoffrey Morsby said the scuffle began when the man tried to discard evidence during the inspection.

He was convicted of using excessive recreational fishing equipment and prohibited bait, and fined $2000.

The court heard it was the second time the man had been caught by Fisheries Officers in three months.

Magistrate Clifford told him if he had not pleaded guilty a far more significant penalty would have been imposed.

Earlier in the day two Melbourne men also faced the court, charged with the unauthorised use of commercial fishing equipment at Lake Eildon last November.

The court heard an alert angler saw the two men retrieving a mesh net from the waters of Lake Eildon and called the Victorian Fisheries Offence reporting line.

Victorian Water Police and Fisheries Officer’s apprehended the two men at a nearby camp with the net and a number of captured fish.

The 54 year old man from Dandenong and a 53 year old man from South Yarra both pleaded guilty and were convicted and fined $1000, as well as forfeiting the fishing equipment. Senior Fisheries Officer and prosecutor Russell Strongman submitted to the court that the indiscriminate nature of mesh nets, particularly in inland waterways, made them a significant threat to fish of various species and other wildlife.

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