For the first time in 30 years, a range of fines for rogue fishers who break rules will increase this week after the Marshall Liberal Government responded to industry calls for heavier penalties.
“The Marshall Liberal Government takes our seafood sustainability seriously, and those who think the rules don’t apply to them have a rude shock coming their way,” David Basham, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development says.
The increased fines were announced last year but will come into effect on Friday 19 March.
The decision to change the expiation fees is in response to calls from the fishing sector and followed a review of fines conducted in 2019.
During the review, it was found that most fishing offences and penalties have not been changed since the year 1989, when the power to issue these expiation notices was first introduced.
Basham claims that the previous fines were too low and no longer a deterrent for doing the wrong thing.
“From Friday this week, rogue fishers who are caught doing the wrong thing will have a significant hit to the hip pocket,” he says.
“An increase in fishing fines has been long overdue with some remaining unchanged for 30 years and price of seafood has risen well above these penalties.”
In one example last month, a group of three people were issued with a $100 expiation each after being caught with 47 undersized blue swimmer crabs, but from Friday the fine will be $625 each.
In another case, a fisher was caught with an undersized blue swimmer crab and two undersize King George Whiting for which he was issued a $50 expiation. With King George whiting costing up to $100 per kilogram a $50 fine is hardly a deterrent and from Friday this will be a $375 fine.
“We know that most people do the right thing, but these new fines will act as a deterrent for thinking about doing the wrong thing,” Basham says.
“Remember, if you see someone breaking the fishing rules, report the activity to the 24-hour FISHWATCH on 1800 065 522, or on the SA Fishing App,” he added.
When it comes to recreational and commercial fishers, 128 individual offences are reported with increased penalties (includes boat, bag, size and gear restrictions).