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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 28 August 2018

Man ordered to pay nearly $3,000 for protected area fishing and obstruction

​Fishers have been reminded to be aware of marine protected areas and the fishing rules that apply, after a 27-year-old man was issued fines, mandatory additional penalty and court costs totaling $2,955.30, after catching lobsters with a hookah off the west end of Rottnest Island.

On Friday (24 August), Matthew Ian CURRAN from Worongary in Queensland was found guilty in Fremantle court, which heard the offences had occurred on a Monday afternoon in March. 

The court was told that the accused had surfaced within the West End Protected Area and placed a catch bag into a boat. When Fisheries officers approached, to conduct an inspection, the man picked up the catch bag and jumped back in the water.

Curran then released the catch, which he later admitted in a video interview with officers was about 3 to 4 rock lobsters, and let the bag go allowing it to sink.

Through this action he was charged and found guilty of obstruction, fishing illegally in a marine protected area and not having a current recreational rock lobster fishing licence.

Curran was fined $2,000 and ordered to pay $750 as a mandatory additional penalty for the rock lobster that were the subject of the offence, along with court costs of $205.30.

Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Mark Kleeman said the fine reflects the seriousness of illegal fishing in a marine protected area and obstructing a Fisheries officer.

“It’s an offence to obstruct or hinder a Fisheries officer when they are performing any duty, or exercising any power under WA’s fishing legislation.” Mr Kleeman said.

“This case also highlights the need for people to be aware of marine protected areas.

“Some of the protected areas are off limits to all fishing, whereas limited types of fishing activity are allowed in others, so get to know what protected areas there are in your part of the State.”

To find out about the different types of marine protected areas in WA State waters , go online to www.fish.wa.gov.au and type ‘Marine Protected Areas’ into the search field.

For example, there are five marine protected areas around Rottnest Island, including West End, Kingston Reef, Armstrong Bay, Green Island and Parker Point.

Information on WA’s fishing rules and limits is available in the Recreational fishing guide, which is also available on the department’s website.

Call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 to report any suspected illegal fishing activity.

Last modified: 28/08/2018 3:51 PM

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