Penalties apply for anglers not following the rules

WAIT YOUR TURN: Boats queuing to be retrieved at the Bluff Boat ramp on Boxing Day.
WAIT YOUR TURN: Boats queuing to be retrieved at the Bluff Boat ramp on Boxing Day.

It has been bedlam on the south coast at boat ramps with boats coming from all over the state to fish and chase Southern Bluefin Tuna and throw cray pots in the water.

At the Bluff Boat Ramp on Boxing Day, it was unprecedented scenes with boats queuing for hours to be retrieved and to launch.

At one stage there were more that 25 boats circling in the four knot area waiting to come in.

"It was amazing to see. I know this time of the year everyone loves to come here to fish, but I have never seen so many boats waiting to come in. It took nearly two hours for the area to be cleared," Encounter Bay angler David Turner said.

Recreational cray fishermen John Griffen, David Turner and Peter Rix with their legal haul.

Recreational cray fishermen John Griffen, David Turner and Peter Rix with their legal haul.

"I must say, most of the fishermen were really patient, as they know it is just this time of the year. The council should be congratulated for constructing the overflow car park for cars and boat trailers a few years ago, as I am unsure how the ramp would have coped without it."

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham reminded fishers to follow the rules, as fishers doing the wrong thing, such as catching more than their quota of tuna or Northern Rock Lobster (crayfish) or even Goolwa Pipi (cockles) will be penalised.

Fisheries have been seen on the water and at ramps on the south coast monitoring fishing activities and fines have been issued.

"All detection should act as a reminder to those who may be tempted to flout the laws and that if they do the wrong thing they will be caught," Mr Basham said.

"Thank you to the members of the responsible fishing community who call Fishwatch to report people doing the wrong thing. We use this important information to make sure we are focusing our efforts where they are needed."

Illegal or suspicious fishing activity can be reported to the 24-hour Fishwatch number 1800 065 522. Callers can speak to a Fisheries Officer and may choose to remain anonymous.

"Alternatively, reports of illegal fishing activity can be made through the SA Recreational Fishing Guide app, available via www.pir.sa.gov.au/recfishingapp.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions received 73 reports of offences via the Fishwatch hotline and the recreational fishing application between December 25, 2020 and January 3, 2021.

Three of the reported offences related to the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Brodie Miller with his Southern Bluefin Tuna he caught in Encounter Bay.

Brodie Miller with his Southern Bluefin Tuna he caught in Encounter Bay.

Size limit for the Goolwa cockle are minimum legal length: 3.5cm measured across the widest part of the shell. The season is closed from June 1 to October 31.

Southern Bluefin Tuna has no minimum legal length, but a personal daily bag limit of two and a daily boat limit when three or more people are fishing on board at six.

There is no minimum legal length for squid, but a personal daily bag limit of 15. The daily boat limit when three or more people are fishing on board is either 45 squid or a combined total of 45 squid and cuttlefish.

Crayfish minimum legal length in the northern zone is 10.5cm. It is measured along the middle and on the top of the carapace (the main body shell) from the front edge of the groove between the antennae (frontal tubercule) to the rear edge of the carapace (but not including any hairs attached to the carapace).

Personal daily bag limit is four crayfish per person, per day and a daily boat limit of four per day if taken by one person or eight per day if taken by more than one person. Both must be licensed

All crayfish taken by recreational fishers must have the middle tail fan clipped in half to a recognisable straight line before landing.

Females with external eggs are totally protected and must be returned to the water immediately and all crayfish pots must be registered.

"There is nothing more frustrating that someone else coming along and pulling your pots. I am delighted to know Fisheries police this issue," Mr Turner said.

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