Lobster Fishers Face Prosecution

Lobster pots seized by Fisheries officers.
Lobster pots seized by Fisheries officers.

TWO Hillarys rock lobster fishers are facing fines of up to $25,000, leading a long list of infringements since the recreational season started in mid-October.

Officers from the Department of Fisheries have issued 35 infringements and 97 warnings to people fishing for the crustaceans along Perth’s coast.

North metropolitan compliance manager Todd A’Vard said pot offences were the most common, followed by licence-related offences, ignoring sanctuary zone rules and taking undersize rock lobsters.

He said a 35-year-old Wanneroo man and 54-year-old man from Joondalup were apprehended at Hillarys on December 15 for allegedly interfering with other people’s pots, which carries a maximum fine of $25,000.

“Both of the alleged offenders have been interviewed with a view to prosecution, but formal charges have not yet been laid,” he said.

“It will be alleged that they interfered with one rock lobster pot and removed lobsters from that pot in waters west of Hillarys, and they were not the lawful owners of the pot and did not have permission from the owner of the pot to pull the pot.”

Other offences related to gear interference off Rottnest Island and for excess bag limits and possession of tails are pending prosecution.

“The obligation is on the fisher at all times to know the rules that apply,” Mr A’Vard said.

A guide to rock lobster fishing is available at www.fish.wa.gov.au.

Report illegal fishing activities by calling 1800 815 507.

Men fined $87,000 for fishing offences

ANOTHER two local men have been ordered to pay a total of more than $87,700 for a range of joint and individual fishing offences.

A Joondalup court heard on December 23 that the men were under surveillance by Department of Fisheries and marine officers on December 23, 2013, and again in November and December 2014 before they were apprehended, interviewed and later charged.

A 61-year-old Greenwood man was fined $14,000, issued with an additional mandatory penalty of $46,250 and ordered to forfeit his boat and trailer, 230 rock lobster tails, 24 whole western rock lobsters and three lobster pots.

A 66-year-old Kallaroo man was fined $14,000, given an additional mandatory penalty of $13,200 and ordered to forfeit 68 rock lobster tails and three pots. Their offences included 11 joint charges of interfering with fishing gear that did not belong to them.