THE vandalism of commercial fishing gear is a massive issue, according to Mandurah Licensed Fishermans Association president Damien Bell.
Mr Bell said most people were accepting of the 10 professional crab fishermen, but a small minority were “haters.”
“They vandalise our gear and pull our pots up,” he said.
Mr Bell said the vandalism was malicious and on one recent night 27 pots were interfered with.
“As a group we complain almost daily about illegal activity that is happening to our gear,” he said.
Mr Bell said the vandals were a small minority that was narrow-minded.
“We provide seafood for the 80 per cent of the population that can’t fish for themselves,” he said.
“Our motto is fresh, local and sustainable.”
Mr Bell praised Fisheries Department compliance staff who stepped up their investigations.
The Department of Fisheries seized a vessel following a surveillance operation and apprehended two men for allegedly interfering with commercial crab traps in the Peel Harvey Estuary on Thursday night.
Investigations are continuing and charges may follow.
South Metropolitan Region compliance manager Ryan Parker said the operation was planned around intelligence received and in co-operation with the commercial fishing sector in Mandurah.
“Conducting these types of surveillance operations has its challenges, but the Department of Fisheries is well-equipped to investigate, with well-trained and experienced Fisheries and Marine Officers,” he said.
“People who are doing the wrong thing can expect to have their activities observed and recorded, whether it be day or night or on land or at sea.
“Fisheries and Marine officers will also be paying close attention to the crab fishery over the busy summer months.”
The penalties for interfering with fishing equipment include fines of up to $25,000 and a year’s imprisonment per offence.