Naughty fishers caught out

SOUTH Burnett and the greater region's freshwater anglers are among the worst in the state at following the rules, according to statistics provided by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

According to a Fisheries Queensland spokesperson, Queensland Boating and Fisheries patrols conducted 1,486 inspections and detected a total of 288 offences, issuing fines totalling $6,687.

"The rate of compliance with fisheries regulations for the Central Queensland freshwater fishery was 85%," the Fisheries Queensland spokesperson said.

That 15% non-compliance is 5% greater than Central Queensland's combined freshwater/saltwater compliance rate of 90%, and 9% greater than the state-wide compliance rate of 94% as reported by The Gladstone Observer.

According to the department, the most common freshwater fishing offence last year was contravening a regulated fishing apparatus declaration by a recreational fisher, totalling 167 offences.

Professional Kingaroy angler and member of the Boondooma Stocking Association, Matthew Langford, believes the reason for the high non-compliance numbers is a combination of ignorance and arrogance.

"When you go out west to the rivers and creeks it becomes a bit more vague as to what the bag limits are, there's guys that have been fishing the way they have for years and potentially never seen a fisheries officer," Langford said.

"They also might think they can get away with it because they're not monitored as strictly (as at the dams).

"Most dams and competitions have clear rules, and it's a person's responsibility to know those rules, but I guess people can become complacent when they go fishing."

People who suspect illegal fishing activities should report it by calling the 24 hour toll-free Fishwatch hotline on 1800017116.


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