A SEVILLE GROVE man potentially faces charges after a local crayfisher caught him taking cray pots at Point Peron.
Yesterday Fisheries and Marine Officers seized a vessel under Operation Bagana, for alleged interference with other fishers’ rock lobster pots.
The victim of the thefts posted detailed information including pictures on social media and called the FishWatch hotline.
South Metropolitan Acting Compliance Manager Ryan Parker said a yellow runabout was seized as part of the investigation.
“We are continuing to investigate an alleged matter of interference with a rock lobster pot near Garden Island yesterday , which led to a public report to FishWatch and the consequential seizure of a recreational vessel after a search warrant was executed,” he said.
“A Seville Grove man has been interviewed by Fisheries and Marine Officers in relation to the matter, with a view to potential charges being laid.”
Mr Parker said the information provided allowed Fisheries officers to investigate and take prompt action.
“Yesterday’s seizure reinforces that the Department of Fisheries takes allegations of gear interference seriously and, where resources, are available will act immediately, which includes seizing vessels.
He also said the Department monitored social media to collect information but encouraged fishers to report anything suspicious to FishWatch.
“We need people to provide information on alleged illegal fishing activity to Fisheries first, to avoid compromising investigations,” Mr Parker said.
“Anyone who suspects illegal activity is urged not to get involved, but to carefully observe what they see and call 1800 815 507.
“We have emphasised that our Fisheries compliance officers will be using a variety of sophisticated surveillance and other methodologies, night and day, on land and sea.
“This case shows that we potentially have another 750,000 vigilant fishers keeping watch – that’s the estimated number of recreational fishers in WA – the majority of whom do the right thing.
“WA’s aquatic resources are highly valued in our community and interference with another person’s gear or catch, selling recreational fish or other similar offences can result in penalties of up to $400,000, imprisonment for up four years and forfeiture of boats, vehicles and equipment.
“In addition to any court imposed penalty, fishers, who do not demonstrate the values expected by the community, face the very real prospect of losing the privilege of engaging in that licensed fishing activity.”