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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 26 April 2023

Couple cop big fine for breaching possession limit on finfish fillets

In Broome Magistrates Court on Monday, a man and a woman from Victoria were ordered to pay a combined total of $5,244 in fines plus court costs for being in joint possession of 28.74 kilograms (kgs) of skinned fish fillets.

The pair were in a vehicle that was inspected by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) compliance officers at a roadside checkpoint on the Broome-Cape Leveque Road in August 2022.

An endorsed plea had been provided to the court for the 68 year-old man and the 51 year-old woman, both from Rochester in Victoria, who did not attend the court hearing this week.

  A Fisheries and Marine officer inspecting the offenders’ vehicle

The court heard that both of the accused took part in an Electronic Record of Interview where they made full admissions to being in joint possession of all the fillets.

A person can be in possession of up to 20 kgs of fillets, however, any amount in excess of 10kg can only be fillets from large pelagic finfish, with skin attached for identification purposes.

The limits were introduced in July 2021 and aimed at providing increased protection for higher risk species such as demersal scalefish. Fillets may not be transported at sea with the skin off. Once a recreational fisher reaches the mainland, the skin can be removed from up to 10 kilograms of fillets of any species. However, any fillets in excess of 10kg (within a person’s 20kg possession limit) can only be large pelagic fish with skin attached until the fisher is at their principal place of residence.

Pages 44 & 45 in the Recreational fishing guide​ have more information on finish possession limits.   

DPIRD Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Matthew Gogoll said, with Broome about to hit a peak period for recreational fishing, this week’s big court fines have provided an important reminder of the 10-kilogram limit for fillets from higher risk species such as demersal scalefish and that skin must be left attached to any large pelagic fish that exceed the 10 kilogram limit.

“Compliance officers in the Kimberley will be keeping a close eye on the fishing rules for transporting fish and recreational fishers are reminded that a ‘principal place of residence’ does not include a stay in a caravan, tent, vehicle or boat,” Officer Gogoll said. 

“The requirement for any fish in your possession that exceeds 10kg to be large pelagic fish with skin attached applies in any location other than your principal place of residence.”    

Illegal fishing is a potential threat to sustainability, so FishWatch is available 24/7 ready to take calls from anyone with concerns or suspicions – call 1800 815 507 to report what you’ve seen.

You can also report it through the online form on Crimestoppers

Last modified: 26/04/2023 5:34 PM

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