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Jail, confiscation of proceeds of crime for fish thieves.

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Media Release

Mike Kelly MP

Federal Member for Eden-Monaro Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support

Office of the Hon. Dr Mike Kelly AM MP Member for Eden-Monaro, Shop 16, City Link Plaza, Morisset Street, Queanbeyan NSW 2620

July 8, 2008 08-084

Jail, confiscation of proceeds of crime for fish thieves The Member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly has applauded NSW Government plans to increase penalties for illegal fishing following his agitation and constant representations over the issue.

“I hope these proposed harsher penalties stop some of these fish thieves,” Dr Kelly said. “Enhancement of the laws will send a strong message to illegal fishers targeting abalone, lobster and shark fin that the law is coming after them.”

Dr Kelly said he had been in constant contact with office of the Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald about fish thieves on the south coast.

The Minister had today announced the NSW Government’s plan to target illegal fishing on the coast and on inland waters.

Where local court jurisdiction was involved, the previous maximum fine of $10,000 will rise to $22,000, Dr Kelly said.

The maximum $11,000 fine for breaching bag and size limits will double at $22,000 where second or subsequent offences occur.

Where presently courts can impose only the maximum prescribed penalty for an offence, they will, when the legislation is passed, be able to add an additional penalty linked to the market value of the catch.

“That penalty could be up to 10 times the value of the catch stolen,” Dr Kelly said.

“Where presently only goods used in the offence could be confiscated, this will be extended to enable the seizure of proceeds under the Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime Act 1989.”

Dr Kelly said provisions for bag and size breaches and for assault, obstruction and abuse currently are restricted to a fine and maximum of three months imprisonment. But under the new legislation fish theft offences are to become indictable.

“This means where trafficking in priority species occurs, jail terms will increase,” Dr Kelly said.

“The NSW Minister says the increase has yet to be negotiated with the NSW Parliamentary Counsel.

“But it could compare with the terms in Victoria, SA or the ASCT where there is a maximum 10-year prison sentence.”

Media inquiries: Terry Bransdon 0488 499 166