Territory And Municipal Services are warning they’re going to be sending the Rangers down the Murrumbidgee Corridor looking for the fisherfolk who don’t play by the rules:
Rangers from the ACT Government are set to step up patrols along the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, following recent incidences of illegal fishing.
“Recently $1150 worth of on the spot fines were issued to an illegal fisher who had 10 set lines at Kambah Pool reserve. He was caught on an early morning patrol by one of our rangers,” said Brett McNamara, Manager, Rural District, Parks and Reserves.
“The majestic Murrumbidgee River has many great fishing spots where you can catch freshwater fish such as Murray Cod and Golden Perch. But unfortunately some anglers spoil it for others and cause harm to the local environment by leaving baited set lines and unattended rods, not keeping to size and bag limits, causing damage to the local area through unauthorised vehicle access and leaving rubbish.
“This is incredibly thoughtless behaviour. Set lines are indiscriminate and can seriously harm protected endangered fish such as Trout Cod and Macquarie Perch which also inhabit the Murrumbidgee. Native animals, such as platypus, can also become entangled on the set lines and drown, while vehicles can cause significant environmental damage.
“Enclosed yabby traps (such as opera house nets) are also illegal in the ACT given they can kill platypus, turtles and water rats by preventing them from escaping meaning they drown.
“While ACT Government rangers will be increasing enforcement patrols in coming weeks, I encourage anyone who sees illegal fishing activities – such as set lines, unattended rods or enclosed traps – to report them to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.”
Set lines are prohibited in the ACT, with anglers liable for fines of up to $5000 under the Fisheries Act 2000. A number of signs are in good view of the public at popular fishing spots along the Murrumbidgee.
These signs display pictures and descriptions of the protected endangered fish so that anglers can readily identify their catch. They also provide information on regulations and restrictions.
Mr McNamara said that anglers can fish the areas of the Murrumbidgee River that lie within the ACT downstream from the junction with the Gudgenby River and from Angle Crossing upstream to the ACT border. Some of the best locations include Tharwa Bridge Reserve, Pine Island Reserve, Kambah Pool Reserve, Casuarina Sands and Uriarra Reserve.
Anglers can also fish the Molonglo River downstream from Scrivener Dam; and Canberra’s urban lakes.
There is a closed season for Murray Cod from 1 September to 30 November inclusive to allow the fish to spawn.
“To help maintain the ACT’s reputation as a great place to catch a variety of native fish, I encourage anglers to act responsibly,” Mr McNamara said.