IT’S been a big month for Fisheries Queensland, with four separate investigations into illegal fishing activity resulting in successful court prosecutions in Ayr, Maryborough and Gladstone, including seizure of a vessel.
A recreational fisher appeared in the Ayr Magistrates’ Court and was convicted and fined. $10,000 and had his vessel, motor and trailer forfeited to the Crown for offences including unmarked crab apparatus and possession of three female mud crabs, three undersized mud crabs and five undersized fish. The magistrate said the penalty should serve as a deterrent to the community and the repeat offender and that fishing is a privilege, not a right, and laws should be observed.
Two commercial fishers appeared before the Maryborough Magistrates’ Court and the first matter related to the use of 14 excess mud crab apparatus and failure to mark apparatus. The fisher was fined $2900, with excess pots forfeited to the Crown. The second matter related to the possession of 18 excess spanner crab dillies on board a commercial fishing boat. This fisher was fined $2400, with excess dillies and $1607 in proceeds of sale forfeited to the crown.
A recreational fisher from Boyne Island was fined $7500 for possessing three commercial fishing nets, 17 female mud crabs and 1 undersize mud crab. Fisheries officers executed a search warrant on the property mid last year and found the remains of female crabs in the freezer and a carapace less than 15cm. The fisher pleaded guilty and all equipment was forfeited to the Crown.
If anyone suspects illegal fishing, please report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116 so it can be investigated. For more information on fishing rules, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23. You can follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@FisheriesQld).