Recreational crabbers are reminded that Cockburn Sound remains closed to blue swimmer crab fishing to protect the breeding stock.
Fisheries and Marine Officers on patrol and responding to public reports about illegal crabbing have been turning away parties of crabbers who are ignoring signs about the closure and following social media tips about where crabs can be found.
The crabbers risk a $400 infringement notice for a first offence and further offences attract mandatory penalties and higher fines.
The closure is an important measure required for the recovery of the crab stock after our monitoring programs showed a significant decline in the number of crabs in Cockburn Sound due to environmental and biological factors.
During surveys conducted by our scientists last year, improved numbers of crabs were caught, with higher numbers of mature and ‘berried’ (egg-carrying) females. This indicates the crab population may be recovering but not enough to reopen it to fishing this summer.
We will continue to closely monitor the stock to check the progress of recovery.
You can play your part in ensuring we have crabs for the future by sticking to the rules and not fishing in the closed area, which includes all waters of Cockburn Sound, as far north as the line from Woodman Point to Carnac Island.
Anyone who has information on illegal fishing activities is asked to call FishWatch on 1800 815 507.