TODAY, the ACT Government in partnership with the National Capital Authority (NCA) and the Canberra Fisherman’s Club urged Canberrans to report sightings of illegal ‘opera house’ style fishing nets in ACT lakes, rivers and streams as ACT Parks and Conservation begin an enforcement blitz in local waterways.
Director of ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Daniel Iglesias, stressed that enclosed nets and traps of any kind are not permitted in Canberra region waterways.
“These kind of nets are destructive to native wildlife and can kill platypus, water rats and the protected Murray River crayfish, which become stuck in the nets and drown,” said Mr Iglesias.
“Enforcement patrols have increased across all bodies of water in the ACT targeting set lines, unattended rods, and checking size and bag limits. We’re also reinforcing the message that enclosed nets are illegal in the ACT – a message we’ve been communicating for well over a decade,” said Mr Iglesias.
The blitz coincides with the closure of the ACT trout fishing season which ends at midnight on Monday 11 June 2018. Rainbow and brown trout caught in ACT waters must be released unharmed while the current fishing restrictions remain in place until the October Labour Day long weekend.
The ACT has an excellent reputation for recreational fishing and the ACT Government, with help from the NCA and Canberra Fisherman’s Club, have been working to reintroduce a selection of native fish, mainly Murray Cod and Golden Perch, to ACT lakes. The blitz will ensure the trout are protected during their winter spawning season and will assist in protecting Canberra’s healthy freshwater ecosystem.
NCA Executive Director of the National Capital Estate, Lachlan Wood, stated that our most known waterway, Lake Burley Griffin, is gaining considerable interstate interest.
“Within the recreational fishing fraternity, our lake is now considered a destination native fishery and a reliable producer of football-shaped Golden Perch over 50cm in length and 3-4Kg in weight,” said Mr Wood.
“More than 1.5 million fish have been introduced to Canberra’s lakes and ponds including since a fish stocking program started in the mid-1990s. This has provided a more balanced ecosystem to these waterways and it is this ecosystem that we as a community need to continue to maintain and protect,” said Mr Wood.
People are urged to report illegal fishing activity such as enclosed traps, set lines and unattended rods to report to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Access Canberra on 13 22 81. Anyone caught fishing trout during the closed season can be issued with an on-the-spot-fine of $250 with the maximum penalty of up to $5,500.
For more information or to obtain a copy of the Recreational Fishing in ACT information sheet, visit www.environment.act.gov.au.