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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
​A buoy attached to floating rope
Friday 18 June 2021

Fines for fishers who breached whale hazard mitigation rules

​In October 2019, when Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development fisheries compliance officers came across floating pot lines, they knew they could potentially entangle migrating whales.

Earlier this month (Wednesday 9 June) a Perth’s Magistrates Court heard the officers seized nine lobster pots off the coast of Scarborough, where a part of the pot line for each pot was trailing across the surface of the water. 

Evidence revealed that two commercial fishers before the court had been aware of the trailing rope and did not comply with the rule that requires the top third of the length of the pot lines to be held vertically in the water column.

  A DPIRD fisheries patrol vessel comes across illegally set pots

Two commercial fishers, one aged 72 from Beaconsfield and the other 44 years old from Bateman, pleaded guilty and each received fines and court costs of $7453.90 for not complying with the management rules.

The magistrate also made an order of forfeiture for the nine seized pots.

DPIRD’s Director Regional Compliance Metro, Todd A’Vard said the rules were very important in reducing the hazard of entanglement of whales migrating along the Western Australian coast. 

Seven years ago, DPIRD fisheries management measures came into force that focussed on reducing rope and floats and eliminating floating rope in waters deeper than 20 metres.

Research has shown those measures, which also ensure that less rope is used and most of it is held vertical in the water column, have significantly reduced the number of entanglements by an average of 64 percent and annual entanglements have fallen to single figures.

Find out more about how lobster pots should be set to help avoid whale entanglements. Western Rock Lobster, who are global leaders in sustainability, have a comprehensive Code of Practice for reducing whale entanglements:

We urge people to report any suspected illegal fishing activity to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

All reports will be in the strictest of confidence and, in calling to let us know what you saw, you will assist us in maintaining community standards.

Last modified: 2/09/2021 1:09 PM

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