Harsher penalties for breaching fishing quotas will have anglers thinking twice about breaking the rules.
Seafood sustainability is a hot topic and after years of lobbying from both the recreational and commercial fishing sectors, fines for rogue South Australian anglers are set to increase in March 2021. The announcement by the state government follows a 2019 review which found that current fines, many of which had not increased in nearly 30 years, were widely seen as too low and not an effective deterrent. For example, under the old rules, it was cheaper to pay a fine than purchase the same quantity of seafood.
In a bid to reverse the drastic depletion of fish stocks in SA waters, anglers caught with even one fish over limit or one fish under size will face the harsh new fines. In many instances, penalties will increase more than 10-fold from $50 to $625. In total, there are 128 individual offences covering both recreational and commercial fishers including boat and bag limits; and size and gear restrictions. Anglers must also be aware that certain species are protected and therefore off limits completely, or at certain stages of their life cycle or certain times of the year.
Whilst a recreational fishing licence is not required in SA, a permit is required in certain reservoirs. It is up to anglers to be aware of fishing rules and regulations.
For those offenders considering their legal options, a lawyer can help.
Scammell & Co will represent an accused in the court proceedings and negotiate with prosecution to achieve the most favourable outcome possible. In the event the accused has a defence or the case against them lacks evidential strength, we will aim to have the matter withdrawn or defend the matter at a trial. In the event there are mitigating circumstances and an accused pleads guilty, we will apply to the Court for the greatest degree of leniency when determining a penalty, and where possible, apply for no conviction to be recorded.
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