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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Monday 29 May 2017

Magistrate issues fine and orders forfeiture of vessel

​Rock lobster fishing offences, that led to a fisher having his vessel seized by Fisheries and Marine Officers late last year, led to a sequel in Rockingham Magistrates Court on Friday (26 May), in which the offender was fined and lost his 4.5 metre runabout.

The 34-year-old Seville Grove man, who was granted a spent conviction, was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine, costs of $188 and forfeited his aluminium vessel, motor and trailer valued at $6,000. 

The court heard that on the last day of October, 2016, Fisheries officers received a complaint through FishWatch regarding the alleged interference with a rock lobster pot that morning. Following investigations, it was found that at 7am, at the southern end of Garden Island to the west near the reef, the accused had pulled a white float with a clearly marked ID that was not his.

In further evidence, the court was told the owner of the pot had later confronted and challenged the accused over the float and lobster pot and took them back from the offender’s vessel.

The serious offence of interfering with fishing gear has been the focus of Operation Bagana, during the current recreational rock lobster fishing season in which a total of ten vessels have been seized. With further cases still to be heard, this is the first of the Operation Bagana seizures to lead to forfeiture and the second vessel in four months to be forfeited in court for fishing offences.


The vessel forfeited in a Rockingham Court case on 26 May 2017

Fisheries and Marine Officers across the State have been involved in Operation Bagana to target the types of offences that have triggered many complaints and concerns by recreational fishers, who have previously reported that their pots had been raided or even removed altogether.

South Metropolitan Acting Compliance Manager Ryan Parker said the rules around the use of fishing gear were in place to protect everyone’s rights when fishing and our legislation does give us the power of seizure in relation to serious fishing offences.

“Offenders are on notice and today’s ruling is a sharp and costly reminder that fishers should never touch gear that isn’t their own and that, if they do, they should expect to face serious consequences,” Mr Parker said.

“In this case, the offender was also charged and convicted of fishing for rock lobster without a current recreational rock lobster licence.”

Mr Parker said it was also pleasing that members of the recreational fishing community, who take stewardship seriously, were using FishWatch to report concerns or suspicions they have.

Call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 to report any suspected illegal fishing activity. Information on rules and limits is available in the Recreational fishing for rock lobster guide, which can be viewed or downloaded at www.fish.wa.gov.au, or collect the guide from Information outlets.

Last modified: 29/05/2017 5:16 PM

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