Darwin River Man Fined for Breaching Cabomba Quarantine Zone

Weeds officers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have fined a Darwin River man for breaching the cabomba quarantine zone.

The Darwin River is quarantined between Cox Peninsula Road and Leonino Road crossings due to the last remaining infestation of cabomba (Cabomba caroliniana).

Cabomba is an aggressive and invasive aquatic weed that could be extremely detrimental to the whole of the Northern Territory’s wetlands from a range of perspectives including fishing, tourism, water quality and the economy if left unmanaged.

The quarantine order has been in place since 2004 and prohibits the movement of people and any object, including boats, vehicles and fishing equipment, into or out of this section of river and within the five metres land adjacent to the water’s edge.

Cabomba Eradication Officer Chris Collins said that it is concerning that the man who was fined has lived in the Darwin River area for about five years and claims to be unaware of the significant impacts cabomba could have on the Top End’s waterways. 

Mr Collins said DENR has worked tirelessly to eradicate cabomba from the Territory.

“Two fishermen were caught in the declared quarantine area of Darwin River, resulting in a fine for a third party who launched the recreational fishing boat,” Mr Collins said.

“The fact that anyone would risk the integrity of our waters, and a fine, is particularly disappointing considering the huge investment that has gone into community awareness and education campaigns associated with cabomba.

“The current campaign includes television commercials, YouTube videos, newspaper advertisements, posters, even drink coasters at the local pubs.

“The quarantine zone is also clearly sign posted, so there is no excuse not to heed the warnings.

“Just one small piece of plant could infest our waterways, causing incredible damage to water quality as well as our fishing and tourism industry.

“We urge Territorians to stay out of the quarantine zone.

“The fined man from Darwin River was also unaware of the fact that substantial amounts of herbicide were being used in the water that he was fishing from.”

The DENR weeds management branch intensified its ongoing program earlier this year to eradicate cabomba from the Top End.

Key actions include the extension of the quarantine order to ensure that nobody enters the infested area, the application of an aquatic herbicide and the implementation of powers to take legal action for breaches of the quarantine zone.

All Weed Management Officers are legally appointed as officers under the Weeds Management Act.

This Act has a number of infringeable offences, including breach of established quarantine zones.

The total infringement issued to the Darwin River man, including victim’s levy, exceeds $300.

Had the matter been taken to court, the man could have faced a minimum $11,800 fine.

The quarantine zone on the Darwin River will remain in place until November 2017.

Go to www.nt.gov.au/environment/weeds for more information about cabomba.

Last updated: 13 September 2017