Four people face prosecution under WA’s fishing laws and potential hefty fines for jointly being in possession of almost three times the daily bag limit of blue swimmer crabs.
115 of the 117 crabs found in their vehicle at a roadside checkpoint on Kwinana Freeway, near Baldivis, on Saturday evening were undersize.
Darren Schofield, who is a Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, said the haul was shocking to see.
“Knowing so many undersize crabs were taken raises significant concerns,” Mr Schofield said.
“We returned the crabs to the water as quickly as possible, but sadly we know that not all will survive because of the time they have been out of the water”.
The roadblock that was maintained until late evening was conducted by 21 Fisheries staff, who were joined by seven police officers from Mandurah and Rockingham. More than 200 cars an hour were checked in the first three hours, but most of the more serious offences were detected in the late evening.
Operation Deepsilver also detected netting-related offences, 29 undersize crabs and four undersize bream in another vehicle with four occupants, who also face prosecution.
In other roadside checks illegal possession of marron has triggered further investigations and a $1,000 fine was issued for a driver of a vehicle who had 15 undersize crabs.
Fines of $200 were issued to nine people for having undersize crabs and two $75 infringements for taking crabs by illegal means. There were 18 warnings issued to people in possession of undersize crabs or fish.
Darren Schofield said all of the crabs and fish were taken from the Peel Harvey Estuary, with the exception of the marron.
“In all, 279 undersize crabs were seized on the night, along with 108 legal size crabs,” he said.
“This year there are higher numbers of undersize crabs in Mandurah’s waterways, so it’s an absolute must that fishers measure their catch carefully and leave the undersize ones to grow.”
Details on the State’s fishing rules and limits can be found on the department’s website and in the Recreational fishing guide. Most fishers understand the need to do the right thing, however, if you do see something involving fish or fishing that doesn’t look right, FishWatch provides a quick and easy way to report it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1800 815 507.