A court has handed a fisherman a hefty fine after he was found with 42 undersize blue swimmer crabs during a roadside checkpoint operation north of Mandurah.
The 21 year-old Girrawheen man was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by Fisheries and Marine Officers at the Kwinana Freeway checkpoint, just after 11.30pm on Saturday 17 December, last year.
The court heard that only four of the crabs the offender had stored in a container, that was found in the boot, were of a legal size.
There were two measuring gauges in the container with the crabs.
The illegal haul cost the fisher $2,788 in Rockingham Court last Friday.
Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Darren Schofield said the December roadside operation that checked approximately 1,000 vehicles involved Fisheries officers from Mandurah, Rockingham and Fremantle, plus Peel Water Police and officers from Rockingham Police.
“This offender was the last of six people, who faced court on matters arising from our temporary roadside checkpoint, in which more than 50 people from more than 30 vehicles were found to have committed fishing offences,” Mr Schofield said.
“29 formal warnings were issued, 20 infringement fines – ranging for $200 to $1,000 – were also issued and the six people prosecuted in court were ordered by magistrates to pay fines, penalties and costs varying between $1,488 and $3,388.
“In the worst case, the offender was found in possession of 44 undersize blue swimmer crabs.”
Blue swimmer crabs smaller than 127mm carapace width are classed as totally protected fish and the daily bag limit for these crabs is 10 in the West Coast Bioregion, which extends from Black Point, east of Augusta, to the Zuytdorp Cliffs, north of Kalbarri and includes the Abrolhos Islands.
Information on rules, limits and gear is available in the department’s Recreational fishing guide, which can be found online at www.fish.wa.gov.au.
The current Mandurah crab fishing season ends 31 August and Cockburn Sound is closed to crab fishing until further notice.
Anyone with information on illegal fishing activity should call FishWatch on 1800 815 507