Two men fined nearly $100,000 for illegal marron fishing in Harvey Dam

PIC: Supplied.

A magistrate in Harvey Court has handed down the biggest fines ever in WA for illegal marron fishing, with penalties and costs totalling $97,731.60 and the seizure of a vehicle.

A 49-year-old man from Aveley and a 51-year-old Stratton man had several sacks full of marron packed into a Ford Fiesta, when Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) compliance officers stopped them at a roadside checkpoint in 2019.

In all, officers at that checkpoint, on the corner of Stansfield Road and Harvey-Quindanning Road, found seven hessian sacks containing 418 marron and measuring checks revealed that 259 were totally protected undersize marron, because they were less than the 90mm.

PIC: Supplied.

Before the men were stopped around 4.30am on 20 December 2019, other DPIRD compliance officers had, as the court heard yesterday, observed the two men fishing with torchlights by the Harvey Dam and observed a scoop net being dipped into and pulled out of the water.  

From the investigation that followed, evidence gathered by DPIRD compliance officers and admissions made by the men in follow-up interviews about past illegal fishing activity back as far as March in 2019, eleven charges were laid, which were dealt with by the court. 

Both men entered guilty pleas for yesterday’s hearing. The magistrate issued the 49-year-old Aveley man a $4,400 general fine, a $36,740 mandatory penalty for the marron involved in his offences. The magistrate also agreed to a court order that the Ford Fiesta be forfeited.

The 51-year-old Stratton man received a $6,000 general fine and $49,640 mandatory penalty. His fishing gear was forfeited. Each man is now prohibited from freshwater fishing and being within 200m of marron waters or drinking water dams for 2 years and must pay $475.80 costs.

DPIRD’s Regional Compliance Director, South, Russell Adams said the marron bust at Harvey Dam in 2019 was part of the extensive Operation Shadowedge that used targeted increases in fisheries officers and sophisticated surveillance to target illegal fishing in the South-West.    

“The scale of these marron fishing offences had the potential to impact on the marron fishing season, making it harder for fishers to get good catches and enjoy freshwater fishing experiences, had the officers not been able to return the marron to the dam,” Mr Adams said.  

“To help keep it sustainable, WA’s recreational marron season only runs across four 4 weeks (from noon 8 January to noon 5 February) so DPIRD compliance officers always pay close attention to out of season activity, to ensure the marron stock is protected for licence-holders.”  

If you have information involving the illegal freshwater fishing, you can report it anonymously to FishWatch on 1800 815 507 or send an email to tipoff@dpird.wa.gov.au.
 

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