illegal crabbers
Two fishers have received a total of $20,131 in fines and costs for illegally crabbing in a Moreton Bay Marine Park green zone.

Covert investigation leads to hefty fine for illegal crabbers

Two illegal crabbers in a Moreton Bay Marine Park green zone have received a total of $20,131 in fines and costs.

Marine park rangers were conducting covert surveillance of the Pannikin Island Marine National Park Zone when they found two unlawfully set crab pots. Later that night, they observed two men in a recreational vessel inspecting the crab pots.

The rangers and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers intercepted them, finding 24 live mud crabs on board, which were seized.

All Marine National Park zones, known as green zones, are designated “no take” areas, with a complete prohibition on any crabbing or fishing. They are in place to protect our precious marine ecosystems from the threat of over-fishing.

While they were recreationally fishing on the night of the investigation, both men were active, licenced commercial fishers at the time of the offence, and in sentencing, the Court highlighted the important role commercial fishers have in sustaining the environment to protect for future generations.

Fisheries Queensland | #QldEnvironment illegal crabbers

Responsible crabbing

  • Make sure your crab pot/dilly is heavy enough and has enough rope attached to the float so it’s not lost in strong tidal currents. Lost crabbing gear can harm marine animals and becomes marine litter.
  • It’s best practice to make sure your pots/dillies are in water deep enough at all stages of the tide so marine animals caught in the gear are not exposed to the sun and unwanted crabs can be released alive.
  • Sort your crabs on a pot-by-pot basis to remove any no-take crabs before moving on. If you don’t, any illegal catch in your pot is considered to be in your possession.
  • Check your pots/dillies regularly to ensure any bycatch or no-take crabs can be released unharmed. Ideally, you should not leave gear unattended for more than 7 days. If you’re not sure when you’ll be back, take it with you. illegal crabbers


  • Hook crabs: Hooking crabs is illegal.
  • Interfere with another person’s crabbing gear: This is a serious offence that carries heavy penalties. Stealing crabs or crab pots is a criminal offence – if you’re caught you will be reported to the police.

illegal crabbers

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