A Victorian fisherman has been fined almost $500 for catching an “oversized” fish measuring almost a metre, after he admitted to knowing it was illegal to take it from the river.
Officers from the Victorian Fisheries Authority received an anonymous tip Friday night and headed out to Swan Hill in northwest Victoria the following morning.
Upon arrival, they found two vehicles at the riverbank with boats in tow, pulled up beside one another.
“While officers were speaking to one man at the back of a boat, they noticed another person moving quickly behind the second boat,” the Victorian Fisheries Authority said in a statement.
“Officers saw man carry a large fish from his boat and heave it into the river. One officer approached the man and saw a Murray cod floating in the water.
“The man was questioned and admitted he’d caught the cod earlier that morning, and knew it was oversize.”
The cod measured 93cm long, and weighed a whopping 17kgs, the fishing authority reported.
The angler was slapped with a $484 fine for possessing Murray cod larger than the maximum size.
Murray cod are an iconic Australian native species particularly valued by recreational fishers.
Catch limits apply to anglers fishing Victorian waters in a bid to improve sustainability of the species.
A picture of the huge fish on the fishing authority’s Facebook page on Saturday received support from anglers agreeing the fisherman deserved to be punished.
However, one woman jokingly asked: “Who seriously would kiss and release. It’s a monster.”
What is the size limit for Murray Cod?
Murray cod have the potential to grow to large sizes, but need to be between 55 and 75cm to be harvested, according to the Victorian Fisheries Authority.
Fisheries surveys show the numbers of large fish in many of Victoria’s river systems are relatively low and Murray cod populations in many locations is impacted by recreational fishing.
The changes to Murray cod regulations, which came into effect on December 1, 2014, are expected to improve the species sustainability and fishing opportunities for anglers in the long-term, as larger fish are used as breeding stock.
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing us encouraged to call 13FISH (13 3474).
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