Vessel forfeited, fines imposed for illegal fishing in Carnarvon’s creek systems

Photo: DPIRD

A magistrate in Western Australia recently issued fines and penalties of more than $6,000 to a 52-year-old Carnarvon man and ordered he forfeit his FRP vessel that was seized the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) compliance officers for a string of illegal fishing offences.

The DPIRD said the accused had used the small boat to use drop nets to catch crabs and did not have a valid recreational boat fishing licence. He also used a set net from his small vessel to net fish in waters of the Gascoyne River, catching a number of fish before hiding the set net.

The DPIRD clarified that all netting is prohibited in the waters of the Gascoyne River and its tributaries due to the indiscriminate nature of nets. Use and possession of them in some WA waters is against fishing laws.

The department added it is not uncommon for officers to come across illegal fishing gear that has been forgotten, or traps and nets hidden for future use and, if traps and nets are lost, they continue to “ghost fish” and become an ongoing risk to a range of aquatic species.

On April 4, the Carnarvon court heard that on the first day of November last year, compliance officers from DPIRD inspected a vehicle leaving the One Tree Point area and seized a number of fish and mud whelk shells.

A short distance away, the officers found a bag containing a net and a number of fish and crabs that the accused had hidden. Two green mud crabs were under legal size, as was a mulloway.

The offender also had 252 mud whelks more than the daily bag limit of ten allowed.

Also in court on April 4, the illegal take and shucking of clams along the Quobba coast was highlighted. Three men from Carnarvon were each ordered to pay $3,129.30 in fines, penalties, and court costs.

At around 08:30 local time on January 8 this year, DPIRD compliance officers observed the three men on a reef platform at 2 Mile removing clams from the reef top, then shucking the clams and placing the clam meat into containers and bags.

The DPIRD said it is illegal for any person, who is not the holder of a commercial fishing licence or aquaculture licence, to remove the shell from any edible mollusc within 200 metres of the high-water mark.

This group of three men had jointly taken 217 claims more than the daily bag limit, the DPIRD added.


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