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- Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 22 April 2013
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158 undersize crabs in illegal haul at Mandurah
A magistrate has ordered that four men pay a total of $15,070 for being in joint possession of 158 undersize blue manna crabs in the Peel Inlet at Erskine in March this year.
A Mandurah court was yesterday told that the offenders were caught after a Fisheries and Marine Officer was given information by a police officer, who reported a suspected illegal fishing case.
It’s understood a member of the public had tipped off the police officer.
A joint investigation by the Fisheries and Police officers, in the early evening of 18 March this year, uncovered the men wading in the shallows and in possession of 161 blue manna crabs, only three of which were bigger than the legal size limit.
21-year-old Botra SON of Wanneroo, 28-year-old Sitha Doeurn NOV and 26-year-old Vothroth KEO all of Wanneroo and 26-year-old Tola Vi CHOR of Alexander Heights pleaded guilty to the joint possession of the undersize crabs that are totally protected under the Fish Resources Management Act.
Each man was fined $500 for the offence and the four were also ordered to each pay a mandatory penalty of $3160, plus court costs of $107.70 each.
Department of Fisheries’ Metropolitan Region Manager Tony Cappelluti said each of the men had also exceeded the former daily bag limit of 20 blue manna crabs per fisher and they had failed to release the undersize crabs within five minutes of taking them.
“The Peel Harvey is currently closed to crab fishing and when the fishery reopens, on 1 November, fishers need to be aware the daily bag limit will be 10 crabs, with a boat limit of 20 crabs. These new limits will apply across the West Coast Bioregion,” he said.
“Court cases like this, where the offenders have been guilty of breaching the rules that are imposed to help keep our fisheries sustainable, are a real concern.
"Mandurah’s crab fishery is one of WA's most important fisheries and attracts thousands of participants a year. It is already under significant stress, with signs that crab stocks may require further management. Illegal fishing can further threaten the future of this fishery.
“Taking undersize crabs or fish gives no regard for the future of a fishery, so it is important that the fines imposed reflect the seriousness of the offence.”
More details, on the rules that apply to crab fishing in the West Coast Bioregion and the area that bioregion covers, are available online at www.fish.wa.gov.au.
Source: Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia"
WorldFishingToday d. 12-10-2007