YOU can’t take excess abalone, throw some back and then claim you’re under the bag limit.
And you can’t pull up a family member’s craypots if you’ve already pulled up your own craypots on that day.
It is not wise to give Fisheries officers false details either.
These were some of the lessons learned in Joondalup Magistrates Court on Friday, August 3, in a session dominated by fish poaching hearings that led to a magistrate handing out more than $24,000 in fines across nearly a dozen cases.
The biggest penalty came for Eduardo Rossi, who pulled up more than the allowed four craypots on five occasions while fishing with his son off Ocean Reef boat harbour in November last year.
Rossi, who had 20 years fishing experience, was caught with 16 lobsters on one of the boating trips leading to a $4000 mandatory penalty.
He said the extra pots were his wife’s and did not know that what he was doing was wrong.
He accepted responsibility for the offence, with Magistrate Deen Potter handing him an additional $2500 fine, taking his penalty to $6500.
In another hearing, Yang Zhao admitted to taking too many abalone from Ocean Reef and then giving false details to a Fisheries officer.
He exceeded the bag limit by 29 shellfish on February 3, but told the court he intended to take the bag limit and then throw the smaller abalone back into the water.
The Fisheries prosecutor explained that any abalone removed from the reef counted towards the bag limit, regardless of whether a fisher kept them, because they could not survive.
Zhao also lied while attempting to claim that all the abalone he had in his possession were not his.
He claimed some of them were caught by his mother-in-law, who was sitting on the beach.
He was fined $2620 for the two offences.
Zhao’s case was not the only one heard in court that involved lying to Fisheries officers.
In a December 9 incident at Burns Beach, an officer asked abalone catcher Naibin Li to produce a current abalone licence.
He gave the officer a false name and provided a licence that was not his.
He did not appear in court, but admitted to giving false details and not having a licence.
He apologised in a letter to the court, saying it was a “silly idea” after his licence had expired.
Mr Potter fined him $1500.
Other fines included $5620 for Ren Wu, who took undersize abalone and exceeded the bag limit by 90 off Yanchep on January 13.
Also in Yanchep, Conrad Thomas Waikari did not have a licence and was fishing out of season when he took an abalone, a sea urchin and three undersize lobster on March 1.
He was fined $4550.
At Burns Beach on May 5, Clyde Tua and Warren Tarehu Grey, took 31 abalone between them out of season.
Tua was fined $730 for possessing 16 of them and Grey was fined $700.
On March 13 at Ocean Reef, Patrick Duncan Healy took 28 abalone outside season and was fined $1840.