WA fisherman faces nearly $4,000 in fines for illegal crabbing

Photo: DPIRD

A day out fishing near Derby has cost a 47-year-old man almost $4,000 in fines, penalties and court costs handed down in Derby Court last week.

The Derby man was the master of a boat inspected by Compliance officers from the Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) at the local boat ramp in July 2020.

While the master had a Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence, a second person who was also on board the vessel, but did not take part in the fishing activity, did not have that licence.

Inside an ice box on the vessel, the DPIRD officers found 15 mud crabs. The crabs were measured and four were found to be undersize.

As the master of the vessel, he had allowed the daily boat limit of mud crabs to be exceeded by five and had also exceeded his personal daily bag limit by 10.

In Derby Court on Wednesday, April 27, the magistrate issued a fine of $350 and mandatory penalty of $480 for possession of four undersize crabs and a fine of $750 with an additional penalty of $600 for the fisherman’s failure as master to ensure the boat limit was not exceeded.

The magistrate also issued a fine of $350 and a mandatory penalty of $1,200 for exceeding his daily bag limit. Costs of $259.30 were also issued against the vessel master.

All up, the man’s court bill amounted to $3,989.30.

Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer for the Broome District Peter Hurst said this week’s court outcome would serve as an important reminder to mud crab fishers in the Kimberley area that breaking the rules was not acceptable.

“It shows that magistrates will crack down hard on offenders,” Mr Hurst said. “Mud crabs are found in Western Australia’s north-west from Shark Bay through to the Northern Territory border and fishing for them is particularly popular in Kimberley waters.”

Mr Hurst added that the bag, possession and size limits exist to help keep the species sustainable.

“There are other rules to remember as well, for example Mud Crabs must be landed whole by fishers, so that our compliance officers can check catches and determine whether the crabs are of legal size”.


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