News: micro chips used to catch fish poachers

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Posted by Chris on November 06, 2003 at 16:17:32:

Chips in fish help net Australian cod poachers

SYDNEY - Australian fisheries investigators have wrapped up an illegal poaching operation after inserting microchips into fish then tracking them to the culprits' freezer, officals said.

Victoria state Fisheries Minister Bob Cameron said the hi-tech sting began when officers in his department found an illegal fishing net in a creek in the state's northwest.

The officers inserted microchips under the skin of the golden perch and murray cod caught in the net then returned them and waited for the poachers to turn up.

The fish had disappeared a day later and when officers stopped the poachers' vehicle they could find no trace of the animals. However, a subsequent search of their home uncovered fillets in the freezer, complete with microchips still emitting signals to the fisheries officers' tracking devices.

"The officers involved in the operation have shown how effective the use of modern technology can be in the war against people who steal fish," Cameron said in a statement.

Three men have been charged with illegal commercial fishing and face fines of up to 10,000 dollars (7,000 US) or six months jail under laws designed to protect dwindling numbers of Australian native fish.

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