IT has been an expensive lesson for two poachers caught by Victorian fisheries officers with set lines and other illegal equipment.
The two men, aged 71 and 46, lost their boat, motor and a considerable amount of fishing equipment during a recent appearance at Echuca Magistrates Court.
They pleaded guilty to fishing offences and a forfeiture order was made against them.
Fisheries officers apprehended the men in December with commercial fishing equipment in the Broken Creek near Picola.
They had 12 set lines and were targeting Murray cod.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries regional fisheries manager Mike Hosking said apart from the set lines the men also had yabby pots.
Mr Hosking said one of them did not have a recreational fishing lic-ence.
“Both men were fined $750, plus court costs,” Mr Hosking said.
“The court ordered their boat, trailer, outboard and associated fishing equipment be forfeited and both men received orders prohibiting them from engaging in recreational fishing for eight months.
“Department of Environment and Primary Industries is pleased with the outcome and hopes these convictions will send a strong message to people considering engaging in similar activities.
“Set lines and yabby pots are classed as commercial fishing equipment and it is a serious offence for recreational fishers to either possess or use such equipment in, on or near Victorian inland waters.”
Mr Hosking said people who use set lines are inclined to put them in and leave them unattended.
He said typically it led to exceeding bag limits and a failure to assess the size of the fish at time of capture, removing the option to release them if they were too small.
Mr Hosking said the enforcement and regulation of bag and size limits, plus the type of equipment used, ensured the sustainable distribution and protection of fish populations for all recreational fishers.