Crime Stoppers

Wrap Up – Operation Arbell – Darwin

Monday 23-Nov-2015 13:42

Two men have been charged with exceeding bag limits after they were caught with 24 golden snapper during a Water Police operation.

Operation Arbell – carried out over Friday, Saturday and Sunday – targeted marine safety compliance, fisheries enforcement and traffic safety. The operation was held in the greater Darwin area and involved vehicle and vessel-based patrols of boat ramps, Darwin Harbour, shipping channels and Reef Protection Areas.

Senior Constable Sean Stanley of the Water Police Section said during the operation, officers conducted a traffic apprehension on a white Toyota Land Cruiser towing a 4.6m boat on Gunn Point Road with two men aged 58 and 76 on board.

“The vessel was subjected to a search, which uncovered 24 golden snapper.

“The possession limit in the Northern Territory for golden snapper is three per person – they were over the bag limit by 18 fish.”

Police seized all of their catch as well as their boat. Both men were given notices to appear in Darwin Magistrates Court on 21 January 2016.

“Due to a decline in the numbers of golden snapper and black jewfish in the Darwin region, it is important to adhere to possession limits,” Senior Constable Stanley said. Possession limits for jewfish are two fish per person.

“Water Police will continue to adopt a zero tolerance approach to those who exploit our wonderful fishery.”

A 52-year-old man will also be issued a Notice to Appear for fishing within the Lorna Shoal Reef Protection Area.

As part of Operation Arbell, Water Police inspected 63 vessels on the water and 38 at ramps. Police issued just the three Notices to Appear listed above and three traffic offences.

The movement of several large vessels was also hindered by small boats anchoring in the shipping channel.  It is illegal to anchor in the shipping channel and doing so can result in a court appearance.

“Overall, Water Police were happy with the results of this operation. A vast majority of fishers were doing the right thing, and the arrival of Water Police to do inspections was well-received by all.”

For more information on Marine Safety, log on to, and for information on Reef Protection Areas on