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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 6 July 2021

Illegal fishing is detrimental to the sustainability of demersal scalefish stocks

​A Geraldton man’s fishing trip to Shark Bay in July last year with two mates has this month led to the 33 year old being ordered to pay fines and costs totalling $7398.70.

The man was the master of the vessel used by the three men for their fishing when he misled Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) compliance officers.

He stated they had been fishing for two days when they had only been fishing for one day and catching a total of 22 demersal scalefish on the recreational boat.

The offender appeared by audio link at the hearing at Denham Police Station on Friday (2 July 2021) and the court was told the daily bag limit for the three licenced fishers was 15 demersal finfish in the Gascoyne region, therefore, they had exceeded the bag limit by seven demersal fish.

The 22 fish included nine Red Emperor, six Goldband Snapper, four Rankin Cod, two Pearl Perch and one Baldchin Groper.

An impact statement from a DPIRD Principal Scientist, accepted into evidence by the Magistrate, stated it was imperative that the commercial and recreational catch of all demersal scalefish in the Gascoyne Coast Bioregion continues to be carefully managed. Any illegal recreational fishing is considered detrimental to the sustainability of demersal scalefish stocks in the Gascoyne Coast Bioregion.

The fine and mandatory penalty related to the excess bag limit amounted to $4,150, but the Magistrate also issued a further $3,000 fine because the 33 year old offender had provided false and misleading information during the investigation.
Evidence was presented that at approximately 2:36am (on 25 July 2020) the accused was observed launching a vessel at the Denham Public Boat Ramp. The court also heard that the accused confirmed with officers (on three occasions when questioned) that he had launched at 2:30pm the day prior. 

In the $7,398.70 the Geraldton man was ordered to pay, costs of $248.70 were included.

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

All reports are treated in the strictest of confidence and, by calling to let us know what you saw, you will help us in protecting WA's fish resources for future generations.

Images: Bodycam shots of some of the 22 demersal fish counted by DPIRD compliance officers

Last modified: 6/07/2021 10:34 AM

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