Hefty fines is­sued for break­ing Mur­ray cray­fish rules

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

A com­pli­ance oper­a­tion along the Mur­ray and Mur­rumbidgee rivers has re­sulted in al­most $24 000 worth of penalty no­tices be­ing is­sued to recre­ational fish­ers for not com­ply­ing with reg­u­la­tions for Mur­ray cray­fish.

NSW De­part­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries fish­eries com­pli­ance di­rec­tor Pa­trick Tully said com­pli­ance rates were dis­ap­point­ing, with more than 100 of­fences be­ing de­tected in the first two week­ends of June, in­clud­ing down­stream of Tocumwal.

‘‘This is the fifth sea­son that the cur­rent Mur­ray cray­fish reg­u­la­tions have been in place and many fish­ers are still not com­ply­ing with them,’’ he said.

‘‘Fish­eries of­fi­cers found 27 recre­ational fish­ers in pos­ses­sion of pro­hib­ited size Mur­ray cray­fish, while 12 fish­ers were de­tected tak­ing cray­fish from the closed wa­ters of the Mur­ray River down­stream of the Tocumwal Road Bridge.

‘‘A to­tal of 40 Mur­ray cray­fish were seized by Fish­eries of­fi­cers over the course of the oper­a­tion, with most able to be re­turned to the wa­ter alive.’’

Mur­ray cray­fish may only be taken dur­ing June, July and Au­gust from the Mur­ray River be­tween Hume Weir and the Tocumwal Road Bridge, in­clud­ing Lake Mul­wala, and from the Mur­rumbidgee River be­tween the Gunda­gai Road Bridge and Berem­bed Weir, ex­clud­ing Old Man Creek.

Mur­ray cray­fish are pro­tected in all other NSW wa­ters.

Fish­ers can ob­tain a free Mur­ray cray­fish mea­sur­ing de­vice and the NSW Fresh­wa­ter Fish­ing Guide from DPI Fish­eries of­fices and most bait and tackle stores.

‘‘Mur­ray cray­fish are mea­sured in a straight line from the rear of the eye socket to the cen­tre of the rear of the cara­pace,’’ Mr Tully said.

‘‘A min­i­mum size limit of 10 cm and a max­i­mum size limit of 12 cm ap­plies and Mur­ray cray­fish car­ry­ing ova ex­ter­nally must be im­me­di­ately re­turned to the wa­ter.’’

Fish­ers are also re­minded that Mur­ray cray­fish have a daily bag limit of two and the pos­ses­sion limit is four.

Reg­u­lar pa­trols of the wa­ters pre­scribed for Mur­ray cray­fish fish­ing will con­tinue dur­ing the sea­son, which ends on Au­gust 31.

Any sus­pected il­le­gal fish­ing ac­tiv­ity can be re­ported to the Fish­ers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536.

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