Tampering with fishing gear a serious problem

Several incidents in which commercial crab pots in the Peel and Harvey estuaries have been stolen, damaged or interfered with have been reported in recent weeks.

Mandurah Licensed Fishermen’s Association president Damien Bell said an unprecedented level of interference with gear had been experienced this season.

‘Our pots have mostly been stolen, but we’re also finding many have been emptied during the night,” he said.

‘We provide a fresh, local and sustainable catch of crabs to the people who don’t go recreational crabbing and we are asking the public to help us by reporting anyone who is interfering with commercial crab pots to the Department of Fisheries.’

WAFIC chief executive John Harrison said the situation had become serious.

‘We are calling on the Department of Fisheries to increase its compliance in the region to deal with this issue.

Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said interfering with other fishers’ gear was unacceptable, whether it was recreational or commercial.