Fishing shack bust – more than 3200 shark fins seized

THREE recreational fishers were recently fined a total of $15,250 in Maryborough Magistrates Court for fisheries offences including possession of shark fins, undersized mud crabs, unmarked crab pots and commercial fishing nets.

The men were caught with the illegal haul while on a fishing holiday near Maryborough in April last year.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Greg Bowness said search warrants were executed simultaneously on a Boonooroo fishing shack and a Gympie residence following reports from members of the public.

“The search of the fishing shack uncovered 3206 shark fins from 641 sharks, 37 legal-sized and four undersized live mud crabs, three undersized crab carapaces, 13 crab bodies without carapaces and 22 crab claws,” Mr Bowness said.

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“Six crab pots – four unmarked and two not marked appropriately – as well as two commercial fishing nets and two non-compliant mesh fishing nets were also found.

“An additional commercial fishing net was seized at the Gympie residence.”

One fisher was fined $7750 for the shark fins, mud crabs, unmarked pots and illegal nets, and the other two fishers were fined $3750 each for the mud crabs and unmarked pots.

Mr Bowness said Queensland’s fishing rules were in place to ensure the sustainability of our fisheries.

“In Queensland, mud crabs have a minimum size limit of 15cm and a possession limit of 10 per person,” he said.

“It is illegal to possess crabs with their carapace missing or claws without the rest of the crab unless it is for immediate consumption.

“For sharks, a maximum size limit of 1.5m as well as a possession limit of one shark per person applies.

“The exceptions are great white sharks, grey nurse sharks, sawfish and speartooth sharks, which are all no-take species.

“Shark finning is illegal in Queensland and strict rules are in place to prevent this cruel act, to provide protection to breeding adults and discourage any potential for black marketing of sharks and their fins.”

Mr Bowness said recreational fishers should be aware that it is illegal to possess or use commercial fishing apparatus without an appropriate licence.

“When fishing in tidal waters, recreational fishers are permitted to use seine or bait nets and cast nets,” he said.

“A recreational seine or bait net must be no longer than 16m and have a mesh size no greater than 28mm.

“The drop in the net must be no more than 3m and it must not have a pocket or be fixed when used.

“A recreational cast net must be no more than 3.7m in length and have a mesh size no greater than 28mm.

“This is an extremely concerning case that shows complete disregard for our fisheries resources.”

If you suspect illegal fishing, whether seen in person or online, report it to the Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 017 116.

Don’t engage the person, as this can compromise an investigation.

All information provided to the hotline will be prioritised based on potential fishery risks, accuracy and reliability, with an appropriate response formulated.

For more information on Queensland fishing closures, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free Qld Fishing app from Apple and Google app stores.

You can follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram (@FisheriesQld).

 

Photos: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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