Two people have been fined almost $30,000 for illegally harvesting and selling cockles from Lake Illawarra.
In a crackdown on illegal possession and sale of recreationally caught fish, fisheries officers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) say they detected the cockles advertised for sale through social media in Sydney.
Two individuals have been fined a total of $27,450 after being caught selling recreationally harvested cockles online," acting director of fisheries compliance Anthony Chen said.
"Investigations by DPI Fisheries officers led to the detection of the cockles, which were harvested in Lake Illawarra."
"The Department and the courts take this type of offending very seriously. Recreationally caught fish cannot be sold under any circumstances.
"Selling recreationally caught fish is a risk to public health as the seafood is not subject to the same stringent testing and handling procedures as legitimate commercial harvest.
Read more: Cockle poachers out again at Lake Illawarra
"These illegal operators just don't care for their product like our licenced commercial fishers do, all they are concerned about is a quick buck not the quality of their product or the safety of consumers."
Under recreational fishing rules, each person is allowed to collect 50 cockles per day and must have a fishing licence.
Reprimands for excessive fishing can range from a formal warning, a $500 on the spot fine or a notice to attend court.
Mr Chen reminded recreational fishers and restaurateurs to follow the rules or face the consequences.
Elsewhere under the recent crackdown,, a restaurant in Adamstown - in the Hunter - was fined $15,925 after Hunter District Fisheries officers carried out an inspection where they found and seized 17 untagged eastern rock lobsters alleged to have come from an illegitimate source.
"The matter was prosecuted in Newcastle Local Court this month where the restaurateur was convicted and fined for offences relating to the possession and sale of a commercial quantity (17) of black market [lobsters]," Mr Chen said.
The lobsters are declared a priority species under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 and it is illegal to buy or sell eastern rock lobsters not legally caught by appropriately licenced commercial fishers with NSW DPI lobster tags attached.
If anyone suspects illegal activity in NSW, they should report it to the Fishers Watch phone line on 1800 043 536 or via the online Report Illegal Activity Form.