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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 9 August 2018

If you think you won’t get caught fishing illegally, you might be surprised

​It was late Tuesday morning in April this year on a remote part of Western Australia’s Gascoyne coast and a recreational fisher was bagging squid offshore from Bruboodjoo Point.

What happened next would end up costing the man almost $1,000 and a fishing conviction.

Along with another person, 61 year-old Robert William ROWLES from Parmelia was fishing from a tinny when Fisheries officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development came along to inspect their catch.

Exmouth Court heard this week (Tuesday 7 August) that Rowles presented a catch bag to Fisheries officers that was attached to the boat, which contained 14 squid.

Further investigations resulted in the officers locating a further 30 squid, concealed between two buckets on the boat.


 The count of the 30 concealed squid from the offenders vessel

When fishing with two or more people on a vessel, the boat possession limit for squid is 30. When an individual catches squid the daily bag limit is 15. More details on the rules are available in the Recreational Fishing Guide 2017/18.

The court also heard that Rowles made full admissions to being the master of the boat and knowingly exceeding the boat possession limit.

With the conviction, the magistrate issued a fine of $200 and the offender also received an additional mandatory penalty of $529.10 for the excess squid that were seized by the officers and court costs of $205.30.

The department’s Gascoyne/Midwest Compliance Manager Graeme Meinema said the fine for the 14 squid over the limit should be seen as a significant deterrent.

“Concealment of fish is a serious matter and Fisheries officers are alert to the potential of it every time they inspect a vessel,” Mr Meinema said.

“Fishers in remote areas should never think they will get away with breaking the rules, they need to know the rules wherever they fish and realise that Fisheries officers are there to ensure those rules are not breached.

“We would ask the local community or visitors to an area to maintain vigilance and report suspicious fishing activity along the WA coast, no matter where it is or how remote.

“Don’t get directly involved, but be observant for details that may help an investigation and phone FishWatch on 1800 815 507 to report any suspected illegal fishing.”

Last modified: 9/08/2018 1:39 PM

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