THE illegal catching and selling of tuna has proved costly for a fishing boat skipper, who has been convicted and fined nearly $10,000 in Coffs Harbour.
The recent conviction in the Coffs Harbour Local Court followed a joint investigation conducted by AFMA and NSW Fisheries regarding a failure to declare catch and then on selling it to an unauthorised fish receiver.
AFMA general manager of Fisheries Operations Peter Venslovas said it was important that commercial fish catches are accurately recorded to make sure that stocks are protected and fishing is sustainable.
"We take this issue very seriously and have increased our activity to target those people who are seeking to breach catch limits," Mr Venslovas said.
He said the AFMA has been working hard to crack down on fishing cheats in recent months with considerable success.
In September, two skippers in South Australia were fined close to $31,000 for fishing in closed areas and one skipper in Tasmania was fined $6,000 for breaching catch limits on shark.
In October, more than 100 charges were laid against four fishers in South Australia who were suspected of under-reporting shark catches.
"People who disregard these rules threaten the availability of fish for future generations of Australians to enjoy and the livelihoods of the majority of fishers who do the right thing," he said.
Fishers found guilty of fishing illegally or selling black-market fish may face jail terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to $42,500 for individuals and $212,500 for a company, in addition to the forfeiture of the value of the catch.
If you suspect illegal fishing or black-market fish supply call 1800crimfish (1800 274 634).