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DPI Operation Seizes Illegal Prawns, Crabs and Fishing Gear

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DPI Operation Seizes Illegal Prawns, Crabs and Fishing Gear

NSW Fisheries have targeted the Coffs Coast in recent weeks.

Operation Portunus has seen Fisheries Officers target illegal crabbing and prawning activity since Christmas.

During the operation, officers have seized 189 crab traps, 47 hoop nets and 1 yabby trap between Lake Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

Officers also seized 14 mud crabs and 18 blue swimmer crabs which were returned to the water alive.

The majority of the illegal crabbing gear seized from Solitary Islands Marine Park, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and the Hunter River.

It is estimated that the retail value of the seized gear exceeds $5000.

Meanwhile, further south, various offences were detected at Coila Lake, near Tuross Head and Lake Woollumboola at Culburra Beach.

At Lake Woollumboola, 2 people were allegedly found in joint possession of 60 frozen red rock crabs, including 32 that were carrying eggs externally.

Officers determined that the crabs had been taken from Botany Bay, near Sydney. All 60 crabs were seized and retained for evidence.

Fisheries officers also found other offences including the possession of illegal hand-hauled prawn nets.

At Coila Lake, 5 men and 2 women from Ulladulla, were allegedly found in joint possession of 280 litres of Eastern King Prawns. All 280 litres of prawns were seized along with a hand hauled prawn net and a prawn cooker.

Investigations are continuing and the people may face prosecution later this year.

In other incidents at Coila Lake, 7 people were found to have exceeded the possession limit of prawns. Fisheries officers seized over 57 litres of prawns over the course of a number of patrols. The seized prawns were returned to the water.

The bag and possession limit for prawns in NSW is 10 litres per person.

‘Operation Portunus’ is being conducted by DPI Fisheries to raise awareness of the rules and regulations when fishing for crabs and prawns in NSW coastal waters.

For more information about recreational crabbing fishing rules visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/recreational/resources/info 

The public can report suspected illegal fishing activity by calling 1800 043 536.

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