Fisher fined for catching endangered shark
A MAN who was found with a grey nurse shark carcass in his fishing vessel off Joggley Point near Evans Head in October 2010 has been fined $9000.
The commercial fisher from Yamba was convicted for having the carcass of the critically endangered shark.
Department of Primary Industries fisheries compliance director Glenn Tritton said fisheries officers made the discovery when conducting a routine check of a commercial vessel trawling for prawns at night.
"A 2.27m male grey nurse shark carcass was located in the stern of the vessel," he said.
"It is an offence to harm or to be in possession of a threatened species.
"The offender pleaded guilty in Maclean Local Court and was fined $9000 and $2212 in professional costs.
"The penalty applied by the Magistrate certainly reflects the serious nature of the offence which can also carry a maximum term of imprisonment of two years."
Mr Tritton said commercial fishers should be aware of the strict rules that apply when any threatened species is caught during a routine fishing activity.
Failure to take immediate steps to return the fish to the water can result in severe penalties.
Grey nurse shark numbers have declined to a point where they are listed as a critically endangered species, which is why the penalties are in force, Mr Tritton said.
The department will continue to monitor recreational and commercial fishers to make sure they are complying with the regulations.
The NSW Government recently made a raft of changes to recreational fishing and scuba diving arrangements at grey nurse shark critical habitat and other aggregation sites.