TWO men who caught undersized crabs received thousands of dollars in mandatory fines in Mandurah Magistrates Court today.
Wenhua Lu pleaded guilty, via a translator, to possessing a totally protected fish and obstructing a Department of Fisheries officer.
Prosecutors for the department told the court that Lu was observed crabbing at Point Grey on December 5, 2015.
Lu was asked to open the boot of the Toyota he had arrived in.
He denied any knowledge of the car and said he had no idea how it got there.
Fisheries officers told Lu they would forcibly open the car if keys were not found.
Lu then directed them to a location 50m away where the keys were hidden.
Fisheries officers discovered 56 undersized crabs in the boot.
They measured on average 104mm, the smallest was 93mm long; the legal size is 127mm.
Counsel for the accused told the court Lu had been in Australia for three years, did not speak English and he was unaware there were size and catch limits.
She asked Magistrate Vivien Edwards if he could take part in community work as he was unemployed and had no ability to pay a fine.
Magistrate Edwards fined him $1500 and ordered him to pay a mandatory penalty of $2800.
Quang Vinh Dam also received a hefty fine for catching undersized crabs.
He entered an endorsed plea of guilty to possessing a totally protected fish.
The prosecutor told the court Fisheries officers were patrolling Coodanup Foreshore when they observed Dam scooping crabs and taking them back to his car.
They found 27 crabs measuring an average 105mm, the smallest of them measured 93mm.
In a recorded interview, Dam told officers he was taking them home to eat them.
He was fined $700 and ordered to pay a mandatory penalty of $1300.