skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 18 September 2019

Why you should never fish closed waters

Marron​ are the largest freshwater crayfish in Western Australia and have long been popular with recreational fishers in the South West.

Environmental changes and habitat destruction have reduced the marron’s population, which adds to the pressure on wild stocks.

There are restrictions around when and where you can catch marron to help protect the resource and ensure a sustainable recreational marron fishery.

While the vast majority of fishers respect the rules, unfortunately a small minority intentionally break them, jeopardising the health of our marron stocks and other fisheries.

In January 2017, following three days of covert observation, three men were stopped by Fisheries Officers after illegally taking marron from the Shannon River. They were found guilty in Manjimup Magistrates Court in August 2019 and ordered to pay fines and penalties worth $5,030 plus $23,640 in court costs.

The Shannon River, between Walpole and Northcliffe in the Great Southern Region, is an important waterway that is closed to all forms of fishing year round. The closure allows Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development scientists to study the environmental factors impacting marron and freshwater fish in the area, without the added pressure of fishing activity.

Fisheries Officers patrol the inland south-west waterways and pay close attention to places like the Shannon River to ensure people are not fishing illegally, which can have implications on stock levels and fishery management.

The three convicted men were apprehended following a surveillance operation by Fisheries Officers that uncovered the extreme lengths they’d taken to evade authorities.

They had concealed their vehicle using camouflage netting, travelled four kilometres on quad bikes through thick scrub to access the Shannon River, and attached branches to the back of their quads to conceal their tracks.

When stopped by Fisheries Officers at a roadside check point, they were found to be in possession of 48 cooked marron, stored in an icebox.

Hidden in one of the quad bike’s tool boxes were an additional 10 marron tails, which had been placed in an undeclared pickling jar.

Given the marron possession limit for open waters is 16 per person, the men had not only breached their possession limit, but were found guilty of taking the marron in a closed area.

Fishing rules are in place to ensure there are fish for the future. Always make sure you know the rules that apply for the species you are catching in the area you are fishing. You can check the rules in our recreational fishing guides and on the recreational fishing rules website.

If you witness suspicious fishing activity please report it to FishWatch on 1800 815 517.

You can watch a video about the about the Shannon River investigation on the Fisheries WA Facebook page.

Last modified: 22/11/2019 10:49 AM

© 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