THE latest technology has caught up with fishermen and it’s a case of poachers beware.
There was a recent case on the NSW coast where DNA was used to expose false information provided by an angler about the type of fish he was using for bait.
It may have ramifications for inland anglers who tell fisheries officers they have a particular species.
But it is far less likely to happen on the rivers because anglers have to keep their fish whole so size can be checked, which makes the species easily identifiable.
Fish can only be filleted when they are about to be eaten.
A NSW Department of Primary Industries spokesman said DNA testing had confirmed the suspicions of a fisheries officer.
Supervising fisheries officer Ian Stockton said it was claimed by an angler he had 11 fillets of mullet.
They were found on a boat near Evans Head with the fisherman saying they were being used for bait.
“These fillets were in addition to nine whole teraglin found on the vessel,” Mr Stockton said.
“Testing proved conclusively that the fillets were also teraglin and a fisher subsequently admitted to exceeding the possession for teraglin and filleting the teraglin at sea.”
It led to penalty notices totalling $800.
“The possession limit of teraglin is five per person,” Mr Stockton said.
“It is an offence to fillet fish with a size limit in or adjacent to the water unless the fish is for immediate consumption or immediately used as bait.”
Mr Stockton said in this instance the offender had concocted a cover story to legitimise taking home more teraglin than his daily limit.
“This is a great example of fisheries officers’ knowledge and experience being backed up by modern day science and technology,” he said.
“People should be aware that fisheries officers have a range of modern technologies at their disposal to assist their investigations into illegal fishing.
“This case demonstrates fisheries officers will go to great lengths to enforce the rules in place to protect the marine resource of NSW. “Fisheries officers will continue to patrol our waters and adjacent lands to ensure fishers are doing the right thing and bring those flouting the law to justice.”