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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 28 April 2017

Rockingham Court punishes fishing offenders with fines

​A 45 year-old Rockingham man was this week (Monday 24 April) ordered to pay $1,188 in fines and court costs, for interfering with a rock lobster pot that belonged to someone else.

The offence occurred in Warnbro Sound in October last year (2016) and it was one of the early seizures in a total of ten vessels that have been seized under Operation Bagana.

Operation Bagana mobilised Fisheries and Marine Officers across the State to target rock lobster pot interference and related offences. These types of offences had trigged 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 in this case the magistrate did not grant the Department of Fisheries request for forfeiture of the offender’s $4,500 dinghy.

“Decisions around forfeiture are always up to the presiding magistrate,” Mr Parker said. 

“We accept the decision in this case. Sometimes the department is granted forfeiture, as was the case in Lancelin Court on 16 February (2017) when a 3.75 metre dinghy was forfeited. Sometimes it isn’t. In the Lancelin case two local men were also fined more than $13,000 for their offences.”

“The rules around the use of fishing gear are 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.”

Mr Parker said these cases confirmed that fishers should never touch gear that isn’t their own and that, if you do, you should expect to face serious consequences.

“Support from members of the public, Recfishwest and the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council has been encouraging, with a number of boat seizures coming about because of information from the members of the public who have called FishWatch on 1800 815 507 to detail their observations,” he said.

In other cases before the Rockingham Magistrates Court, arising from a roadside check point that was conducted on the edge of the Kwinana Freeway in December last year (2016), a 31 year old Hammond Park man, who was originally issued with a $1000 infringement, but who elected to have the matter heard by the court, was convicted of being in possession of 44 undersize Blue Manna Crabs and ordered to pay $3,388.00 in fines and costs.

A 31 year old Koondoola woman was convicted of being in possession of 42 undersize Blue Manna Crabs and ordered to pay $3,288.00 in fines and costs. 
 
Over the course of the December roadside check point activity, Fisheries officers inspected fishing catches in dozens of vehicles; which resulted in 51 infringements, warnings and prosecutions, including the two matters that were finalised in Rockingham on Monday.

Last modified: 28/04/2017 1:15 PM

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