Fisheries investigate Glenbawn illegal netting

DEPARTMENT of Primary Industries officers are investigating evidence of illegal fishing activity at Lake Glenbawn  after hundreds of fish were found dead in nets this week.

Mitchell Cone's Facebook post showing hundreds of dead bass, yellow belly, silver perch and catfish.

Mitchell Cone's Facebook post showing hundreds of dead bass, yellow belly, silver perch and catfish.

The matter came to public attention via Facebook posts from angler  Mitchell Cone, who was on Glenbawn on Monday afternoon prefishing for an upcoming ABT Bass Tournament grand final on October 24-25.

Mr Cone posted a video showing nearly 50 metres of abandoned nets strung across the shallows at Glenbawn containing hundreds of dead bass, yellowbelly, silver perch and catfish.

 ‘‘It’s quite sad and frustrating,’’ Mr Cone said.

‘‘We gotta start to keep an eye out.

‘‘We all practise catch and release and sustainability but there's just a few blokes out there  wrecking it for everyone.’’

Five nets have been found in the area in the last week posing a danger to not only fish but humans.

‘‘A lot of guys take this short cut,’’ Mr Cone said, referring to the narrows  at Glenbawn.

‘‘It could easily destroy a boat or prop.

‘‘I flog through this area in my bass boat. You could really do some damage.’’

‘‘It’s really sad and time to start reporting these bastards.’’

Fisheries officers are currently investigating the matter further and following up several strong leads.

A DPI spokesperson said Fisheries officers appreciated the assistance of anglers in providing additional information resulting in locating a further two nets at Glenbawn Dam on Wednesday, taking the total to five. 

Mitchell said the perpetrators had used  drop weights to secure their nets.

‘‘They were only about   900mm high, and when the fish died, they swelled and rose to the surface.

‘‘The net on Saturday had upward of 300 fish and the one I found on Monday had similar.

‘‘If these guys have been striking two or three times a year in secret, we’re talking 1000s of fish.

‘‘It’s a big dent to the stocks.’’

 Mr Cone’s Facebook video has gone viral with over 90,000 views and 2200 shares.’’    

‘‘Fisheries officers will be conducting regular patrols of this area and encourage anyone who witnesses suspected illegal fishing activity to report it to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or report online www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/compliance/report-illegal-activity,’’ the spokesperson said.