Members of the so-called “Cod Squad” have been located and issued with penalty notices of $500 each for possession of a prohibited size fish, reports the Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
The two Narromine men have been under investigation by DPI and the NSW Police Rural Crime Unit since May, when they posted a photo on social media of themselves holding an almost 24.5-kilogram Murray Cod. It is illegal to extract the fish from the river.
A DPI spokesman confirmed the men had been located and fined.
“DPI Fisheries officers located the men with the assistance of the NSW Police Rural Crime Unit,” the spokesman said. “The men were each issued a penalty notice of $500 for possession of a prohibited size fish.”
DPI Fisheries officers located the men with the assistance of the NSW Police Rural Crime Unit. The men were each issued a penalty notice of $500 for possession of a prohibited size fish.DPI
But members of the community have criticised the size of the fine. “Add another zero and I’d be happier,” one person commented on the Narromine News Facebook page. “Confiscate their fishing gear also,” another wrote.
The illicit fishing was discovered after the men were outed on a Facebook page. The post then went viral, with hundreds of people sharing, reacting to and commenting on it. People called on the authorities to act immediately. The Cod Squad reacted by apparently removing the original post. But a week later one of the men posted more potentially incriminating photos. The post contained three combined images allegedly showing nine oversized Murray Cod gutted and hanging up. The second post, uploaded on a fishing page, gained similar attention.