Joondalup: man hit with thousands in fines for interfering with craypots

Stock image.
Stock image.

A MAN with more than a decade’s experience as a commercial fisherman today told Joondalup Magistrates Court he was “deeply remorseful” for interfering with craypots.

The acts cost Geoffrey Ian Nicholson thousands of dollars in fines.

He was also fined for fishing with too many of his own craypots at one time.

Magistrate Deen Potter fined him $5000 after he pleaded guilty to nine counts of pulling up pots that did not belong to him.

The incidents, which involved commercial and personal pots, happened across multiple fishing trips at the end of last year near Burns Rocks.

Nicholson’s history as a commercial fisherman left Mr Potter puzzled as to why he would commit the offences.

Nicholson explained he was checking to see if there were any lobsters in the area and emphasised he did not steal any of them.

He said the fishing trips had been father-son bonding exercises after recent family troubles.

But he conceded that was “no excuse”.

“I’m deeply sorry for my actions,” he said.

“It’s something I’ll never do again, it’s something I’d never done before.”

He also admitted to, on four occasions, fishing with six of his own pots when he was only permitted to be fishing with two.

He received a $1000 combined fine for those offences.

He appeared emotional as he took his seat after the hearing.

Mr Potter said he understood Nicholson’s desire to bond with his son in light of the circumstances.

He accepted that Nicholson did not steal any crayfish.

But he said there “still needs to be a general deterrent”  as he decided on the size of the fine.

The Fisheries prosecutor asked Mr Potter to take into account that the offences were carried out “over an extended time frame and pre-meditated”.

The maximum fine for interfering with craypots is $25,000 or a year in prison.

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