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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 24 December 2015

Big fines for interfering with rock lobster fishing gear

​Two men have been ordered to pay a total of more than $87,700 for a range of joint and individual fishing offences – one of them personally having hundreds of rock lobster tails and dozens of whole lobsters stored at home and the other being found with more than 60 packaged or frozen lobster tails at his residence.

A Joondalup Court yesterday heard the men had been under surveillance by Fisheries and Marine Officers on 23 December 2013 and again on a number of days in November and December last year; before they were apprehended, interviewed and later charged.

Russell Ewen, aged 61, from Greenwood was fined $14,000 and issued with an additional mandatory penalty of $46,250 and court costs of $169.10.

Christopher Stickland, aged 66, of Kallaroo was fined $14,000, given an additional mandatory penalty of $13,200 and $169.10 in court costs.

Among their offences, they faced 11 joint charges of interfering with fishing gear that did not belong to either of the accused.

The magistrate also ordered Ewen to forfeit his boat and trailer used to commit the joint offences, along with the 230 rock lobster tails, 24 whole western rock lobsters and three lobster pots, which had also been seized by Fisheries and Marine officers.  

Stickland was ordered to forfeit 68 rock lobster tails and three pots that were seized.

North Metropolitan Compliance Manager Todd A’Vard said the court had issued the appropriate penalties for the offenders.

“Cases of interference with fishing gear are difficult to prove and the good work of Fisheries and Marine Officers to build a strong case against these men was a credit to the department’s compliance efforts,” Mr A’Vard said. 

“We know that many recreational fishers are out there doing the right thing and some have suffered from such illegal activities. When you set your lobsters pots there’s nothing worse than finding, or suspecting, they have been raided by someone else.

“We ask anyone with information about illegal fishing activities to not get involved, but to carefully observe what you see and give FISHWATCH a call on 1800 815 507”.

More information on WA’s rock lobster fishing rules and limits is available in the Recreational fishing for rock lobster guide 2015/16. Find that at www.fish.wa.gov.au, or collect the guide from departmental offices, or Information Outlets.

Last modified: 24/12/2015 9:53 AM

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