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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 24 July 2019

An operation targeting indiscriminate fishing methods nets more fines

​Two people have been ordered to pay fines, penalties and costs of more than $2,000 each, after being prosecuted under Western Australia’s fishing laws in Carnarvon Court this week.

On Monday 8 April, Fisheries officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development came across two vehicles and four people at the water’s edge in a location known as Rocky Pool – 40 kilometres east of Carnarvon, on the Gascoyne River.

It was nearly 9pm in this relatively remote location, indicating that Fisheries officers may turn up at anytime and anywhere to target offenders who fish these areas illegally and in secret.

An inspection by the officers uncovered three illegal monofilament nets, a small dinghy and two bags containing 70 mullet.

 The three nets and two bags of fish seized at Rocky Pool in April

All netting is prohibited in the waters of the Gascoyne River and, due to the indiscriminate nature of mist nets, their use and the possession of them in WA waters is against fishing laws.

If traps and nets are lost, they continue to ‘ghost fish’ and become an ongoing risk. It’s not uncommon for officers to come across illegal fishing gear that’s been forgotten or traps and nets hidden for future use. 

In court on Monday (22 July), Van Lac THACH and Ngoc Tuong TRAM from Carnarvon - both aged 63 – were found guilty of contravening an order and ‘fishing by means of a net in the Gascoyne River, where it is prohibited at all times’.

The court heard that THACH admitted to using both the fishing net and small boat in the waters the Gascoyne River at Rocky Pool. The second accused TRAM admitted to assisting with the fishing activity, by rowing the vessel for her partner while he retrieved the fish out of the net.
THACH was fined $500, plus a mandatory penalty of $1,400 and costs of $225.90 (a total of $2,125.90). TRAM was ordered to pay $2,075.90 in fines, penalty and court costs. 

Acting Gascoyne Region Compliance Manager, Dean Clarke said this prosecution was part of the ongoing Operation EASTBURN.

“This operation was aimed initially at targeting the use of illegal gear, netting and trapping primarily in the Miaboolya Fish Habitat Protection Area, but it has since been widened to cover all creeks and rivers in the Carnarvon area,” Mr Clarke said.

“Officers have been using a variety of methods and equipment to help target the offenders and I urge anyone with information about suspected illegal fishing activity there to call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 and report what they know.”

Last modified: 24/07/2019 1:37 PM

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