SEIZED: Some of the illegal crab pots seized as part of Operation Portunus since Christmas.
SEIZED: Some of the illegal crab pots seized as part of Operation Portunus since Christmas. NSW Fisheries

Clawing back catches from illegal crab fishing

A MAJOR NSW Fisheries operation on the North Coast has resulted in a major clampdown on illegal crab and prawn fishing.

Codenamed Operation Portunus, the work of fisheries officers has also meant 189 crab traps, 47 hoop nets (witches hats) and one yabby trap have been seized between Lake Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

Officers have also seized 14 mud crabs and 18 blue swimmer crabs, which were returned to the water alive.

"The majority of the illegal crabbing gear has been seized from Lake Macquarie (which is closed to the use of crab traps), Port Stephens, Solitary Islands Marine Park and the Hunter River,” a NSW Fisheries spokesman said.

"It is estimated that the retail value of the seized gear exceeds $5000.”

DPI Fisheries is conducting Operation Portunus to raise awareness of the rules and regulations when fishing for crabs and prawns in NSW coastal waters.

For more information about recreational crabbing fishing rules, visit dpi.nsw.gov.au or download the free FishSmart NSW app from Google Play.

To report suspected illegal fishing activity, phone 1800 043 536 or report it online at the Department of Primary Industries website.



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