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So what happens to fish seized by fisheries officers?

After reading a number of comments on recent posts, some of the NSW DPI Fisheries social media followers question what happens to the fish that DPI Fisheries seize during patrols and compliance operations.

Here DPI Fisheries can set the record straight, fisheries officers do not take seized fish home: NSW DPI Fisheries Officers seize fish (including prawns, crabs and oysters) when those fish are taken or are in possession contrary to NSW fishing rules. • If live fish are seized, Officers often photograph the fish for evidence and release them as soon as possible. If the fish are dead, Officers may choose to return the fish to the water in the presence of the alleged offender (the dead fish forms part of the food chain) or the fish may be retained and frozen for evidence. • Sometimes Officers will retain the seized fish and consign it for sale. Sale of seized fish is common for high value species such as Eastern Rock Lobster or where a commercial fisher may be involved. Any proceeds of the sale of seized fish are held by DPI Fisheries pending the outcome of any legal action. • Occasionally fisheries officers may transfer seized fish to NSW DPI’s Science and Research Unit for ongoing project monitoring, like the Mulloway age and growth study. • Due to strict food safety requirements and as not all the fish we seize are in a good condition or kept on ice, NSW DPI rarely donates seized fish to charities or nursing homes these days. Fisheries officers regularly recover fish buried in sand, hidden in cars and boats, lying in the sun or left in buckets - definitely not up to safe food requirements. • Anyone who has fish seized from them is issued with a notice of seizure (a receipt) that shows what the Officer seized, its condition and how many fish were taken. • NSW DPI Fisheries has very strict policies in place to ensure that all seizures are managed, stored or disposed of in an accountable and transparent manner.

For more information regarding the NSW DPI Fisheries Compliance Unit and duties of fisheries officers visit If you suspect illegal fishing activity report it by calling Fishers Watch on 1800 043536 or report it online at Source

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