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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Ark shells in a blue measuring bucket next to the offender’s bucket
​Ark shells in a blue measuring bucket next to the offender’s bucket​
Friday 20 September 2019

Seven litres over the limit for Ark shells

A man with a white bucket, digging in the mud flats at Karratha’s Back Beach last October, drew the attention of Fisheries Officers who were conducting surveillance of Ark shell fishers.

It turned out he had gathered nine litres of Ark shells, seven litres above the allowable limit for the popular marine mollusc.

Ark shells, along with cockles and pipis, have no minimum size limit but the daily bag limit is two litres per fisher. 

In Karratha Magistrates court this week (18 September), 48 year-old Chadwick Gary BARBER from Newman entered an endorsed plea of guilty to his bag limit offence and was ordered to pay a $450 fine as well as a mandatory additional penalty of $475 and court costs of $225.90. 

The court was told, on Tuesday afternoon around 4.45pm on 23 October 2018, Fisheries Officers with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development observed Barber taking Ark shells from the mud flats and placing them into a white bucket.  When he came ashore he was intercepted near the Back Beach Boat Ramp. 

In an interview with Fisheries Officers he admitted not knowing the bag limit. The over-limit Ark shells were returned to the mud flats by the officers.

DPIRD Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer at Karratha Michael Dunne said it was important fishers kept to bag limits because once a local population of shellfish was depleted, it could take many years to recover.

“Ark shells are part of WA’s unique and diverse marine fauna,” Mr Dunne said. “Some people boil the shells and eat the contents, others use the contents as food or bait.

“This case is a $1,150 reminder to all fishers that you need to be aware of the rules that apply, depending on what and where you fish.

“Collecting marine molluscs like Ark shells, or the bigger shells like cowries, volutes or conch, is a popular pastime for people in the Pilbara who enjoy getting out on the mud flats. The daily limit for the larger specimen shells is 10 shells per fisher.

“We ask fishers, the majority who do the right thing, to call us if they notice someone who is taking more than they should and please report the matter to FishWatch.” 

You can call FishWatch 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 815 507 to report any suspected illegal fishing activity.

Media contact: DPIRD media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937 

Last modified: 26/09/2019 9:57 AM

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