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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
​Skinned fillets sealed in bags
Wednesday 4 September 2019

It can be costly when you breach the limits in WA's fishing rules

​Every year, from 15 August to 30 September Freycinet Estuary, which is the Western Gulf of Shark Bay, is subject to a pink snapper closure to protect spawning stock.

In addition, pink snapper taken outside this closure zone cannot be landed in the Freycinet Estuary Management Zone, but other finfish species can be taken in the Western Gulf during the pink snapper closure

On a routine patrol on Sunday 9 September last year, at a Carrarang Station camp known as The Point, which is within the management zone, Fisheries officers came across three men who were in possession of 19.65 kilograms of skinned fish fillets stored in cryovac bags.

The maximum possession limit of finfish for that area is five kilograms per person, so the group had exceeded the limit by 4.65 kilograms and were jointly responsible.

Seized by the officers, on the suspicion the fillets included pink snapper, DNA sequencing tests later confirmed that 16.44 kilograms of the fillets were pink snapper.

 The 19.65kgs of fish fillets that were seized by Fisheries officers

On Friday 30 August, in evidence read to the Shark Bay Magistrate’s Court, the three accused were re-interviewed (after the DNA testing) and all three admitted to knowing about the pink snapper closure, being able to identify pink snapper, however, they continued to deny any of the fillets in their possession were pink snapper.

At the court, the men – Ilmar Miezis, aged 71 from Allanson in South West WA, 70 year-old Bruce Campbell of Collie and Robert Townsend also from Collie, who is 67 – who had entered guilty pleas, were issued with fines, penalties and costs amounting to $7,234 for each of them.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Supervising Gascoyne Fisheries Officer Byron Francis said it was vital fishers adhered to the Shark Bay region’s fishing laws.

“There’s been a lot of effort on effective recovery plans for pink snapper, because recreational fishing is important in attracting tourism to the area,” Mr Francis said.

“While the majority of recreational fishers do the right thing, this case shows the importance of regular fisheries patrols to check and ensure compliance with the local rules.”

Being reproductively isolated, pink snapper stocks in Shark Bay’s inner gulfs don’t interbreed, which makes all of the inner gulf stocks are particularly vulnerable to overfishing. Seasonal closures, daily bag and possession limits, along with size limits and the establishment of the Freycinet Estuary Management Zone, all play a part in managing pink snapper sustainability.

More details about Shark Bay pink snapper management are on the website. Illegal fishing activity should be reported to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

Last modified: 4/09/2019 3:01 PM

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