Operation Cord targets fish taken for illegal sale
13 April 2017
Five retail outlets are being investigated after a Fisheries Victoria operation targeting the sale of recreationally caught fish was recently undertaken.
Fisheries Victoria Senior Officer David Burgess said Operation Cord was run in the week leading up to Easter.
"This Operation involved 27 officers and investigators covering 50 retail outlets (fish and chip shops and fish processors), across the Geelong and South-West region.
"Operations such as this are run around the state from time to time to ensure that seafood outlets are sourcing legally caught fish" he said.
"It will be alleged that at one retail establishment in Geelong, Fisheries Officers located over 70kg of recreationally caught King George whiting that was being kept for sale."
Mr Burgess said recreational anglers must not take fish for sale, barter or exchange.
"Selling recreationally caught fish undermines the legitimate commercial fishing industry and threatens the sustainability of the resource."
He said recreationally caught fish are not subject to any of the food safety measures required under the Food Standards Code. Buyers of illegal fish are placing their customers' health at risk, and the reputation of the business.
Under fisheries and food safety legislation, fish retailers and wholesellers must only buy seafood from a legitimate commercial source and are required to keep a record of the purchase transaction, including the name and address of the provider.
People caught selling or buying recreationally caught fish face significant penalties, such as fines and imprisonment. Convicted offenders may also face prohibition and confiscation orders.
"There is plenty of safe and legal seafood available in the Victorian marketplace, so there is no reason to risk buying illegal product."
Members of the public are encouraged to report fisheries offences to 13FISH 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and include helpful information such as date, time, place, number of people involved etc.
Categorised under: Fisheries