skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 13 January 2023

Recreational fisher loses lobster licence and cops big fine for illegal sales

A magistrate has suspended the rock lobster fishing licence of a 33-year-old Yanchep man and prohibited him from being on any vessel used for rock lobster fishing for six months.

In Joondalup Court this month (6 January), the man was also issued with fines, penalties and court costs totalling $11,014.30 for unlawfully interfering with fishing gear and selling recreationally caught lobster.

It is an offence to interfere with any fishing gear unless the person is the owner or is acting with the authority of the owner or has some other lawful excuse. It is also illegal to sell or barter with any recreationally caught fish in Western Australia.

DPIRD compliance officers set up Operation Oakgate in late November 2020 after two commercial rock lobster pots, previously reported missing, had been relocated elsewhere. 

The DPIRD officers checked the pots over a couple of weeks, noting they were being actively fished. On 12 December 2020, they inspected a recreational fishing boat, and the 33-year-old man was found with one of the pots onboard. He admitted to pulling the second of the two commercial pots the day before.

Two other men were also implicated in using the commercial pots from the same recreational boat, owned by the Yanchep man. 

 After the missing pots were reloacted, Operation Oakgate was triggered

Further investigation by the officers uncovered two sales by the recreational fisher of a total of 15 Western rock lobsters between 2 - 6 December 2020.  For this offence, he was fined $3,500 and issued with a mandatory $3,750 additional penalties for selling the lobsters. 

In related charges heard in Joondalup Court on 2 January this year, a 29-year-old co-offender (from Kulin), faced four charges of pulling pots not marked with his gear identification and was ordered to pay $3,764.30 in fines and costs.  A 30-year-old Butler man who was also a co-offender netted in Operation Oakgate was given fines and costs of $1264.30 over two charges of pulling pots that weren’t his.

Metropolitan Acting Director for Regional Compliance, Mark Kleeman said the operation was a reminder that compliance officers were focussed on conducting surveillance and investigation of illegal activity.

“The powers of search and seizure our DPIRD compliance officers have are significant and helped in uncovering the illegal sales of recreationally caught lobster in this case,” Mr Kleeman said.

“The rules are designed to protect the sustainability of our fish resources. The sale of recreationally caught fish undermines sustainability and potentially puts consumers at risk by purchasing seafood which may not meet suitable hygiene standards.”

Last modified: 13/01/2023 3:18 PM

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745


© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.


The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at