Officers crabby at crims

FISHERIES officers warn they will be cracking down on illegal crabbing on the Coffs Coast this festive season.

Already DPI Fisheries and Solitary Islands Marine Park officers have seized more than 350 illegal crab traps in the past month in a bid to stop illegal crabbing.

Coffs Harbour DPI supervising fisheries officer Ian Stockton said officers will be targeting all fishing activity but crabbing offences will be a priority over summer.

“Crabs are heavily targeted by both commercial and recreational fishers and unfortunately a diverse black market exists, which is common to many high value seafood species,” Mr Stockton said.

Recreational anglers are permitted one crab trap and five hoop or lift nets, commonly known as witches hats, while commercial fishers must land their catches in accordance with stringent NSW Food Authority guidelines.

Mr Stockton said consumers should buy crabs that are sold from reputable fish co-ops, retailers and restaurants. People found breaking the rules risk large fines and the seizure of catch, fishing gear and even boats and motor vehicles.

Mud crabs have a minimum legal size limit of 8.5cm and a recreational bag limit of five per person.

If you have information regarding illegal fishing, call the Coffs Harbour Fisheries Office on 6652 3977 or Fishers Watch on 1800 043 536.

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