Six Blue Groper Photo: Illegal target – six juvenile Blue Groper speared near Evans Head. (Pic courtesy DPI.)

Spear fishers are being reminded that Blue Groper are off limits in New South Wales.

The warning comes after a Queensland man was fined more than $3,600 for illegally spearing the iconic species.

The 59-year-old former Australian record holder was caught with six of the fish after diving off Evans Head last April.

Ian Stockton, from the Department of Primary Industries, says it’s been illegal to spear fish for Blue Groper since 1969.

“For the last 45 years they’ve been a no go for ‘spearos’, something which I thought was pretty widely known within the spear fishing community,” he said.

“I can’t imagine they’d be very sporting to spear, no… I can’t imagine they’d be a very sporting target.

“You might remember some years ago there was a lot of media about one being shot in Sydney that our premier at the time had taken a bit of an interest in.

After that time they were made our state icon fish.

“So they seem to be held in some pretty high regard the old Blue Groper.”

via Diver fined for spearing Blue Groper at Evans Head – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).