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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

DPIRD senior fisheries officer Dave Lewington removes one of three illegal fish traps from Wapet, Creek, south of Exmouth.

Friday 5 April 2019

Fish traps incident highlights illegal activity

​Recreational fishers have been urged to report any sightings of illegal fish traps, after three abandoned devices were recently reported in the Gascoyne.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development officers confirmed traps were set in Wapet Creek, south of Exmouth reported via the FishWatch hotline.

Fish traps are prohibited in Western Australia due to the potential impacts on aquatic life - indiscriminately catching fish, crabs and other animals, including protected species.

Animals that need to return to the surface to breathe are particularly at risk of getting caught in traps, including mammals, reptiles and birds, as they are unable to escape and subsequently drown.

Traps left abandoned, continue to catch aquatic life, known as ghost trapping, where deceased fish or other organisms caught in the trap attract more organisms and the cycle starts over again.

A drowned green turtle was found in the traps set in Wapet Creek.

The use of fish traps can attract fines of up to $5,000, with additional penalties of 10 times the value of the fish taken.

For example, if two mud crabs were taken using a fish trap, a fine of up to $5,000 plus $120 per crab could result in a fine of $5,240 making for a pretty expensive outing.

Any suspect illegal fish or fishing activities should be reported to the department’s FishWatch hotline on 1800 815 507.

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Last modified: 5/04/2019 4:39 PM

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