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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 28 March 2019

Licence suspension follows court action against an Albany commercial fisher

​A fine of more than $17,000 in the Albany Magistrates Court wasn’t the end of the matter, for a commercial fisher who was found guilty in November 2016 of interfering with fishing gear belonging to others and setting gear in areas prohibited to fishing.

This month, 55 year-old Michael Ross WILLIAMS from the Albany suburb of Mira Mar had his commercial fishing licence suspended for 12 months by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

In addition to any court-imposed penalty, those fishers who do not meet the professional standards expected by industry, and do not demonstrate values expected by the community, face the very real prospect of losing the privilege of engaging in that licensed fishing activity.

These sanctions are distinct and separate from the criminal law processes, where a person is convicted of an offence and incurs a court-imposed penalty.

In a similar way, the community expects recreational fishers to meet the standards and values of recreational fishing and recreational licences may be refused, suspended, or cancelled.

Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer with the department, Peter Johnsen said in the past five years the department had sent 85 show cause letters to people asking them to justify why their licence should not be suspended, or why they should be granted a licence.
“Since 2014, there have been 30 cases where recreational fishing licences and four cases through which commercial fishing licences were either refused or suspended and 32 other people did not continue with their licence application,” Mr Johnsen said.

“West Australians have always had a deep connection to recreational fishing, and they place a huge importance on the sustainability and enjoyment of the fishing experience.”

“Likewise, commercial fishing has a long history in WA and the professionalism and sustainability of the industry is a credit to those hard working fishers.”

“Those that do not meet the community’s standards can expect to be held to account.”

“I ask all fishers to imagine the long term impact of losing your fishing licence and think twice before committing an offence – it’s just not worth it.”

Anyone who has information on any suspected illegal fishing activities is urged to call the FishWatch reporting line on 1800 815 507. Information can be given confidentially and, by reporting what you see, you will be assisting Fisheries officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in protecting WA's fish resources.

Last modified: 28/03/2019 2:35 PM

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