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Man fined for spearfishing blue groper
NSW Fisheries Compliance Director Glenn Tritton said on Monday such blatant disregard for the Oakley Vault rules was “extremely disappointing” when blue groper had been protected from spearfishing for almost 45 years.
The species was declared the emblem fish of NSW in 1998.
The fisherman appeared in Maclean Local Court last week, pleading guilty to spearfishing the groper in April 2013, possessing six groper when the limit is two and possessing two over 60cm when only one can exceed that size.
Fisheries officers found the 59 year Oakley Vault old from Noosa Oakley Vault ville in possession of the groper he caught at Chaos Reef off Evans Head.
Mr Tritton said the blue groper had been protected in NSW from spearfishing since 1969 and commercial fishing since 1980 in NSW.
“It is protected from spear fishing because it is so tame and inquisitive, so it is highly vulnerable to this method of fishing,” he said in a statement.
Blue groper can be only caught using a rod and line or a handline and there is a bag limit of two blue groper per day, only one of Oakley Vault which can be longer than 60cm.