Warning over illegal lobster equipment

FISHERIES Victoria is urging people to use correct equipment and abide by catch limits when fishing for southern rock lobster.

Fisheries Victoria officer Ian Westhorpe said officers had observed the species of lobster being taken by illegal means over summer.

“Spears and snares seem to be the weapons of choice and unfortunately this means they can target rock lobster that would normally be uncatchable and we have had several offenders found with undersized rock lobster,” Mr Westhrope said.

“Rock lobsters show obvious signs when taken illegally, with spears leaving puncture wounds, and snares can also partially crush the animal.”

Using incorrect apparatus has also led people to take more than the daily catch limit.

“We have also noticed an increase in people taking more than their daily catch limits by diving or drop netting several times over the course of a long, hot day.”

“When catching rock lobster, only hands can be used to ensure the conservation of natural stocks,” Mr Westhorpe said.

“Catch limits are there to ensure there are healthy levels of rock lobster into the future for everyone to enjoy along this part of the coast.”

Rock lobster is a priority species under the Fisheries Act of 1995 and people can be fined up to $30,000 or face jail time for illegal activities.

Fisheries officers have the right to seize any equipment used in illegal practices, including cars, boats and dive gear.

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