View Full Version : Man to be prosecuted over blue groper spearing

02-03-2004, 06:24 AM

"This document has been posted for information and to encourage discussion among yourselves. For more information from NSW Fisheries on the issue, please visit our web site on www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au"

02-03-2004, 08:07 AM
Man to be prosecuted over blue groper spearing
March 1, 2004
A 45-year-old man from Macquarie Fields in Sydney will be prosecuted in relation to the spearing of a blue groper - the State’s emblem fish – at South Cronulla last week.

The Director-General of NSW Fisheries, Steve Dunn, said police responded to a call from a concerned eyewitness and found the 10kg fish in the boot of a parked car in Cronulla.

“Police at the scene questioned the man about the matter,” Mr Dunn said.

“He will be summonsed to appear in court on an illegal fishing charge. The maximum penalty for spearing a blue groper is an $11,000 fine.”

The NSW Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Ian Macdonald, said such offences threaten the sustainability of the species’ stocks.

“The blue groper is the State’s emblem fish, and has been protected from spearing since 1969,” he said.

“The only legal method to catch blue groper is by recreational line fishing, and there is a bag limit of two per day.

“In 1998, the blue groper was declared the emblem fish of NSW, joining other State emblems such as the waratah, platypus and kookaburra.

“The species can grow to around 15kg and one metre in length. Adult gropers establish territories on rocky reefs, making them a much-admired fish among divers and snorkellers.”

Media inquiries: Eric Aubert on (02) 8437 4948 or 0419 185 375

02-03-2004, 11:15 AM
how fast did the bloody coppers act then if the witness saw the fish in the boot and they(cops) got there in time to question the man at the car with it in the boot???
man now if only the cops acted that fast all the time and not just for some fish!
had a bloke assluted up the top of my street 2 weeks ago and we had to wait 2 hours before the cops got here to question everyone!

02-03-2004, 11:36 AM
Good to see the NSW recreational fishing licence is paying for concerned citizens and the Police to enforce the fishing laws! ::)

02-03-2004, 12:27 PM
I'm not very educated with the whole spear fishing scenario. Can anyone explain to me why you are allowed to take blue groper on a line but not by spear? Is it easier to catch them like this? Can communities of groper be exploited if it is allowed? Was the offender aware of this law? If yes then he deserves to be prosecuted. If no I'd hate to think someone would get fined $11, 000 for a simple mistake (keeping in mind that as recreational fishermen we have an obligation to know the rule on bag limits etc). If the offender was not aware of these rules the department of fisheries should look into how available information is to recreational fishermen?

02-03-2004, 01:47 PM

I think there is a huge difference between a spearo who makes a concious effort to line up and shoot a blue groper (ie he has a chance to identify the fish before shooting), and the line fisherman who is probably targeting other reef fish and gropers occassionly get caught. No idea why they allow you to keep them when you do catch them on line, but guess it might have something to do with poor survival rates upon release. More likely though, that that was just the way the rules were drafted at the time, and they either haven't got around to changing it, or have not seen evidence that tells them line fishermen are having a contiunued detrimental impact on the population.

As far as public awareness is concerned, (as you mentioned) ignorance of the law is never a defense - as was made quite clear from the huge debate over the change to the QLD rules.

Personally, I haven't been spear fishing for about 20 years now, but was well aware the Blue groper was off limits at the time,(aged 15years). $2000 or $3000 dollars rings a vague bell as the fine at that time which was a lot then. That rule has been around since 1969 as they pointed out, so the guy was 10 or 11 years old at the time the law came out so was old enough to understand, and has had 35 years to check out the rules since.

So my guess is, he was aware of the rules (maybe not aware how much the fine was) but hey, he made the decision to line the groper up, shoot it, carry it back to his car and try to take it home. I'm sure you'll agree you don't stop pricks like that by having a $10 fine, a slap on the wrist and a heartfelt, stern chat. I'd be throwing the book at him an also be asking how many times he has already done this and got away with it? Its certainly not the same a having a whiting or bream in your possesion that is 1cm under, or if they had changed the rules last week and you got caught doing something that was ok 7 days ago.


02-03-2004, 04:17 PM
I've noticed when diving or snorkleing Blue groper often come up to you for a nice scratch under the chin. Pretty easy to spear them when they behave like this, i guess thats why the laws were introduced. There are generaly only a couple of Big Blues in any one area with the rest being female or juveniles. If a big blue is taken, a mature female takes his place and turns into the dominate male.

02-03-2004, 05:29 PM
i agree with stubby whole hartedly as i have seen myself bluies are so docile just like potatoe cod or giant QLD groper they like a rub under the belly even in areas which do not have a high level of tourists these animals are naturaly friendly and you dont need to line them up to spear one just poke it with the pointy end that will do it as for the fine i feel the guy deserves it myself i could not target sush a gentle and sociable animal as this even with line: GOODOO

03-03-2004, 10:24 AM
I do a lot of spearing in Qld., though I have never speared in NSW., but even I know that blue groper are illegal to spear. The strange part about it is that line fishing for them is okay. They are either protected or their not, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

04-03-2004, 08:03 AM
the literature on banned species is widely available in nsw. go into any fishing shop and get a copy of the "saltwater handbook" for FREE. If i could type the word FREE bigger i would :-)

The info is provided and it is your responsibility to know it.

I can't see anything wrong or hard with this. It is provided for you for FREE in an easily accessable location so what more can be done for these people to know the laws?

I hope he gets the whole book thrown at him. $11,000 isn't enough for someone who spears a protected fish that is generally that friendly that they come over for a pat.

It is shear selfishness. And there is enough of it already in society.

04-03-2004, 01:53 PM
Gee, that's extreme sport ain't it. Swim up to a docile fish and put a bl**dy spear through it. Hero stuff. >:( At least with line fishing the fish has a chance ...spit the hook, break off etc.

I hope they throw the book at the fool.

05-03-2004, 12:50 PM
The blue groper is a beautiful fish!
I too have dived with them on many occasions, and even hand fed them. They show little or no fear of humans, and because of this there is no skill in spearing them at all. I do wonder why if they are too good to spear, why can they be caught on a line?
I agree with Neptune there good for goose good for gander.
No leniency should be given, these rules have been common knowledge for a long time. If we let people off for first offence, then everyone can do what they like till they are caught the first time. Not the go!
Tony >:(

05-03-2004, 03:27 PM
I think it is a case of being banned by spear due to it's ease. if you could spear them they would all be gone in a matter of years.

To catch them by line on the other hand is some what more difficult. and it gives the fish a fighting chance.

i see no problem with being able to keep them by line because this is a small number compare to what would happen by spear.

mind you if i caught one i personally would release it. but thats just my opinion.