Why Coast-based prawn trawler is in hot water

A PRAWN trawler operator based at Southport has been nabbed for illegally taking prawns from New South Wales waters, authorities allege.

Charges are now pending and the operator faces a maximum fine of $110,000.

Officers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the NSW Police Marine Area Command boarded the Queensland prawn trawler on August 12, DPI revealed.

Investigations allegedly identified the trawler was "operating illegally without endorsement to take prawns from NSW waters".

DPI claims the trawler was found to be targeting prawns about 12 nautical miles east of Kingscliff.

The Gold Coast-based prawn trawler was allegedly caught illegally fishing in NSW waters off Kingscliff by officers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Police Marine Area Command. Picture: Supplied
The Gold Coast-based prawn trawler was allegedly caught illegally fishing in NSW waters off Kingscliff by officers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Police Marine Area Command. Picture: Supplied

The trawler was allegedly directed back to Tweed Heads, where authorities removed and seized three trawl nets.

DPI reports about 70 kilograms of prawns were returned to the water alive.

Authorities have been compiling a prosecution brief and it's expected the master of the vessel will ultimately face court.

The maximum penalty for the first offence of using a net to take fish to sell from NSW waters without the appropriate endorsement is $22,000, six months imprisonment, or both.

The maximum penalty for a person who takes fish for sale from NSW waters without a commercial fishing licence is $110,000 for a first offence.

Report illegal fishing in Queensland by phoning 1800 017 116 and in NSW by phoning 1800 043 536.

Originally published as Why Coast-based prawn trawler is in hot water


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