Operation Turbo Reef has so far seized 6,251 marine invertebrates and issued $63,000 in fines over the Australia Day long weekend. This initiative of NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Compliance Unit is designed to target illegal shellfish collection in the Sydney metropolitan region. This year, the operation tasked a new mobile squad to specifically target compliance in Intertidal Protected Areas (IPAs) and Aquatic Reserves due to their high community value for biodiversity and as sites for education and research.
Fortunately, of the 6,251 invertebrates collected, including cockles, abalone, turban snails, lobster and octopus, the vast majority were returned to the water alive. It’s urged that the public remain vigilant and report any illegal activity to ensure our coastal ecosystems can continue to flourish.
Anyone with information on illegal activity is encouraged to call the Fishers Watch line on 1800 043 536 or lodge a report here.