SA man could face $17,000 fine and six months jail for illegal fishing

Area was placed under surveillance after 13 FISH call

A South Australian man could be fined more than $17,000 and spend six months in jail, after he was allegedly caught stringing an illegal gill net across the Hopkins River at New Bridge road, north of Ellerslie.

Fisheries officers placed the area under surveillance after they were alerted to the net by a caller to the 13 FISH offence reporting line.

They observed the man go down to the river with a wool pack which he returned to his vehicle a short time later.

When the vehicle was intercepted, and the wool pack removed from the vehicle, it was allegedly found to contain a gill net with five fish and a dead long neck tortoise.

Fisheries officer Troy Duthie said long neck tortoises are protected wildlife.

The maximum penalty for unauthorised use or possession of commercial fishing equipment is $11,700 or six months imprisonment or both, while the maximum penalty for killing protected wildlife is $5850, or six months imprisonment or both.

"This is a stark reminder that it is illegal to possess or use commercial fishing equipment without the necessary authority," Duthie said.

"We rely on the public calling 13 FISH (13 3474) when they see an offence occurring."

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