The majority of fishers understand the need for rules to carefully manage popular fisheries, but Fisheries and Marine officers have noticed a concerning upward trend in crab fishing offences in the Peel-Harvey region during the past year.
South Metro acting compliance manager Darren Schofield said the officers apprehended significant numbers of people breaching the bag limit rule and taking undersize crabs.
‘Having detected 985 offences during the 2013/14 financial year and more offences since July, the Fisheries officers will now be targeting breaches of the important annual closure that helps protect breeding stocks and allows the female crabs to spawn,’ Mr Schofield said.
‘The Fisheries officers will remain vigilant throughout the crab fishing closure, which started on Monday, September 1 and runs for two months up to and including October 31, to make sure no crabs are fished.
‘The closure is needed in the fishery at this time of the year to allow juvenile crabs to grow and moult and reach a size at which they can be legally fished.
‘The minimum size for blue swimmer crabs is 127mm (carapace width) and we urge fishers to measure their catch carefully.
‘It is up to fishers to know the rules and it is the job of Fisheries officers to check compliance and protect fish stocks and we will be issuing infringements or prosecuting offenders,’ he said. Fishing rules are available in the Recreational fishing guide 2014. Guides are available at fish.wa.gov.au
Report people catching crabs during the closed season to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.