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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 15 August 2019

Illegal fishing activity attracts big penalties

​In the last month, several cases of illegal fishing were successfully prosecuted following investigations by Fisheries officers and some large fines were handed down by the courts.

An individual was found guilty in Perth Magistrates Court on 9 August on 16 charges relating to illegally possessing and selling western rock lobster.

He was ordered to pay $75,264 in fines, mandatory penalties and costs. The magistrate also ruled that $38,500 being held as security against a returned seized vessel be forfeited.

During a search, 26 plastic containers holding 13.69 kilograms of processed rock lobster flesh were found in his kitchen freezer, and he was found to have illegally sold 15 whole lobsters and 22 cooked lobster tails from his home. He was also charged for fishing for lobster using more than two pots, contrary to regulations for any holder of a recreational rock lobster fishing licence.

On Tuesday 6 August in Fremantle Court a man was issued with fines, penalties and costs totalling $36,088.30 after pleading guilty.

He’d been charged with selling or offering for sale a total of 87 rock lobsters or lobster tails across five separate occasions. He was also charged for being in possession of eight unclipped tails and 3.72 kilos of tail flesh found when a search warrant was executed on his residence.

Four people caught with 115 undersized blue swimmer crabs were fined $5850 each plus court costs in Rockingham Magistrates Court on 29 July. Their vehicle was stopped by DPIRD Fisheries Officers during a roadblock in December 2018 and searched when the officers saw crab scoops in the car.

As well as possessing undersized crabs, the four people had also exceeded the daily bag limit of 10 crabs per person.

Unfortunately, even though the crabs were seized and released back into the estuary, it is unlikely they survived as small juvenile crabs can be very fragile and need to be released immediately if caught.

On 31 July, two men were ordered by a magistrate to each pay $1,205.30 in fines and court costs for interference with aquaculture equipment at a shellfish farm in Albany’s Oyster Harbour.

The two men were apprehended by Fisheries officers following a tip-off from the public. They had waded out to the lease area in Oyster Harbour and removed 80 oysters from the farm’s infrastructure.

Section 172 of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 states that “a person must not remove fish from any fishing gear or aquaculture gear.”

Information provided by members of the public can often be valuable to our Fisheries officers. If you have information about suspected illegal fishing activity, please call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 and report what you know. Reports are treated in strict confidence.

 

Last modified: 20/08/2019 12:55 PM

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