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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 13 October 2016

Leaving squid set lines unattended is not legal for recfishers

​Over the past year, Fisheries and Marine Officers in the Esperance district have detected an increasing incidence of local recreational fishers illegally using homemade squid set lines.

When left unattended, these set lines are classed as commercial fishing gear, which cannot be used by anyone unless they are deployed from an appropriately licensed commercial fishing vessel.

Department of Fisheries Esperance District Office Acting Supervisor Tim Mitchell said he was concerned by the number of recreational fishers using this illegal method to catch squid.

“Some people I’ve spoken to in the Esperance area seem to be unaware of the rules on squid set lines and the implications to the regions natural resources,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Leaving these lines unattended is illegal for recreational fishers.

“Due to the effectiveness of this method, squid may be fished out of an area if several lines are set in the one location.”

Mr Mitchell said such illegal fishing methods posed a risk to the squid stocks in the area.

“The onus is always on the fisher to know the rules that apply to them for whatever fishing pursuit they’re involved in,” he said

“So, whenever fishers say they’re not aware they were doing the wrong thing, the only options we have as compliance officers are to issue infringement warnings or fines or carry out a prosecution, depending on the circumstances.

“The fine for a first offence of leaving a squid jig unattended is $200 and can reach up to $2000, depending on the seriousness of the offence, so we urge all fishers to familiarise themselves with the fishing laws.”

Information on WA’s fishing rules can be found at and in the Recreational fishing guide 2016. The guide is available from Department of Fisheries’ offices and Information outlets in Perth and Regional centres, including several outlets in Esperance.

The bag limit for squid is 15 per person, with a boat limit of 30.

Anyone who has information on illegal fishing activities, including any unlawful use of squid set lines by recreational fishers, is asked to call the FishWatch reporting line 1800 815 507.

Last modified: 13/10/2016 3:52 PM

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