A Camperdown man involved in Victoria's biggest illegal fishing sting has had one month slashed off his jail sentence on appeal.
Burhan Tolga Meric, 41, of Hopetoun Street, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court in February to fisheries offences relating to the sale of illegally caught fish valued at $50,000 at the Camperdown fish and chip shop.
He was jailed for three months and was banned from fishing for 10 years.
On Wednesday Burhan appealed against the severity of the jail term in the Warrnambool County Court.
Judge Paul Higham reduced the jail term to two months, stating that he accepted the illegal fishing sting wasn't Burhan's enterprise, but his younger brother's - Mostafa Meric, 38, of Barkly Street.
But, he said Burhan knowingly played a role in the offending by selling the illegally caught fish for a period of 16 months.
He said video footage showed Burhan helping to offload the fish from a boat and into the Camperdown fish and chip shop.
"You know what was going on," he said.
"You have to lose your liberty today".
Judge Higham said between August 2016 and January 2018, Mostafa purchased a $200,000 boat named Flaked Out and realised he was unable to pay for it.
He said he devised a plan to illegally catch and sell shark and other fin fish worth $50,000.
Such was the extent of the operations that Mustafa considered buying a commercial fishing licence but said they were not for sale, the court was told.
A 12-minute video of the illegal activities showed fish being filleted at the Warrnambool harbour before being taken to the fish and chip shop.
Fisheries prosecutor John Livitsanos said the video showed fish being dragged along the ground and in close proximity to a dog and children drinking Coca Cola.
He said the operation raised health and food safety concerns.
Judge Higham said Burhan was second-in-charge of the fish and chip shop and at one point told his younger brother that he would get caught if he carried on.
Undercover officers bought fish from the shop a number of times, once 40 fillets for about $150.
In February, Mostafa pleaded guilty to the charges and was jailed for three months, fined $9500 and his boat, now valued at $160,000 was confiscated.
Deckhand Wayne Robert McLean, 49 of Talbot Street, Camperdown, was jailed for two months and fined $7500 after he went on 31 trips.
Mostafa and Wayne were immediately released on appeal bail but later surrendered themselves to police. They have since served their time and have been released from custody.
Rodney Paul Light, 39, of Princes Highway, Weerite, went on six trips and he was fined $6000 and banned from fishing for 12 months.
Barrister Cameron Baker said Burhan made no "direct" financial gain from the operation as he was on a set wage - $500 a week.
But Mr Livitsanos likened the offending to a drug cartel, stating that drug suppliers would be unable to run a business if not for those selling on the street.
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing is urged to call the 24-hour reporting line 13FISH (133474), anytime.
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