Gill net men caught by
TWO men were found using an illegal gill net at Wonga Beach last Sunday, after Port Douglas Fisheries patrol officers conducted a raid.
The department stepped in after tip offs from local Wonga Beach residents about gillnetting activities on the local foreshore.
Fisheries Queensland said there were three legal threadfin and two undersize spotted grunter found in the net next to a campsite where the two men were.
“Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers from Port Douglas seized a commercial fishing net set on Wonga Beach on Sunday,” a spokeswoman said.
“An investigation into the matter is ongoing and no fines have been issued at this stage.
“Recreational fishers in Queensland are not permitted to use commercial fishing apparatus, including gill nets.
“A Fisheries Infringement Notice of $1000 could apply to those found using commercial apparatus.”
Sustainable Fisheries Network coordinator David Cook who is also a Wonga resident said everyone should do the right thing and follow all regulations and only use permitted gear.
“Some of the big stores in Cairns sell these nets to the public and that should be made illegal for a start - they are as much to blame as the poor sods who can’t resist chancing their luck” he said.
“Our inshore fish numbers are so low these days that illegal gillnetting is a very antisocial behavior, especially with these four inch nets that kill juvenile fish such as barramundi.
“The only legal way to use a gill net is when someone has the appropriate commercial fishing license or when Traditional Owners have been awarded a short-term permit for a special Indigenous Traditional ceremony.”
Fisheries Queensland said If illegal fishing is witnessed or suspected, it should be reported to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.
For more information visit www. fisheries.qld.gov.au