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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 4 November 2022

Size and bag limits matter for sustainable fisheries

A man, who was sitting on his fish ruler when apprehended by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development compliance officers off the Pilbara coast in May, has been fined more than $3000 for having nine undersize fish.

The 64-year-old Dardanup man was found with seven blue tuskfish and two grass emperors below the minimum prescribed lengths. Undersize fish are considered totally protected under Western Australia’s fishing rules. 

During the Karratha court hearing last week, it was also disclosed that the man’s cooler box contained a total of 13 demersal fish, which far exceeded the bag limit of five for category one demersal finfish.

The offender did not attend court and had entered an endorsed plea of guilty. All up, for taking the nine totally protected fish and having more than twice the bag limit of demersal finfish, he was ordered to pay $3604.30 in fines, penalties and costs. 

DPIRD officers found seven blue tuskfish, two grass emperor, one tropical snapper and three rockcod 

Also, in Karratha court last Tuesday (25 October), were two men who had been checked by DPIRD compliance officers at 40 Mile Beach Boat Ramp after spearfishing in October last year. Of the two Karratha men, both aged 25, only one had a current recreational boat fishing licence.

The men were found with a combined catch of five coral trout and one blackspot tuskfish. In a recorded interview, the master of the vessel admitted to taking four of the coral trout. The daily bag limit is one per licenced person.

In relation to his offences of taking more than twice the limit of a category one demersal finfish and being the master of the boat who exceeded the combined boat bag limit, he was issued with fines, penalties and costs totalling $2,244.30.

The master of the vessel admitted to taking four of the five coral trout found on the boat

The second man was convicted for fishing without a recreational boat fishing licence and failing to state his name, principal place of residence and date of birth when asked by a Fisheries Officer. He had provided details of another person. The fines and costs applied by the magistrate totalled $964.30.         

DPIRD’s Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Michael Dunne said size and bag limits are designed to help protect undersize fish and ensure people don’t take more than they should.

“Our laws are designed to help keep our fisheries sustainable,” he said. 

If you have information involving the illegal fishing, you can call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 or lodge your report online at​ and then clicking on the FishWatch link.   

Last modified: 4/11/2022 4:47 PM

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