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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 15 August 2019

An illegal commercial catch of 339 rock lobsters attracts fines and large penalty

​The master of a commercial fishing boat, guilty of contravening a management plan, has been ordered to pay $86,250 in fines and a mandatory penalty based on the illegal catch.

In Geraldton Magistrates Court on 8 August, 39-year-old Wandina man Samuel CARR, who had entered early guilty pleas, was fined $750 on each of two charges, plus the additional penalty of $84,750, calculated on ten times the prescribed value of the illegal catch of 339 western rock lobster taken from an area subject to a closure off Leeman.
The court heard that on 12 and 13 May in 2014, the accused pulled lobster pots within the prohibited area, and made a consignment of lobsters at Port Denison on the 13th, which included at least some of the rock lobster taken from the closure zone.  

Those events were the subject of the first charge, but on 15 May, on becoming aware of the initial offences, Fisheries officers accompanied Carr on the fishing vessel he mastered to pull 84 pots that had been set within the prohibited area.

The lobster pots were pulled from at least 100 metres within the boundaries of the area, described in Schedule 7 of the West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery Management Plan (2012). There were at least 339 lobsters in the 84 pots retrieved from inside the closure zone.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Regional Manager for the Midwest and Gascoyne, Mick Kelly said the Western Rock Lobster fishery was the State’s most valuable fishery and licensed operators were required work within their management plans at all times.

“Acting outside a Management Plan is illegal and a disadvantage to other law-abiding commercial fishers who earn their living in the fishery,” Mr Kelly said.

“The closure was established to allow for valuable research and as a condition placed on the Western Rock Lobster fishery by the international Marine Stewardship Council for the fishery’s continued independent sustainability certification. 

“It has also allowed for the application of a number of additional research initiatives, where the continued lack of fishing effort is vital to the outcomes, like rock lobster breeding stock assessments.”

Anyone who suspects illegal fishing activity in this, or any other fishery in Western Australia, is urged to call FishWatch, on 1800 815 507.

One of DPIRD’s patrol vessels, used by Fisheries and Marine Officers to monitor compliance with recreational and commercial fishing rules in the Midwest

Last modified: 15/08/2019 2:55 PM

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