ONE man who claimed to be sunbaking as opposed to fishing for pink snapper at 4.30 in the morning will pay a share of thousands of dollars in fines along with his three fishing companions.
Colin Jay Domney, Travis Peter Francis, Christopher Gakis and Joshua Adam Leeson were all convicted in their absence at Rockingham Magistrates Court on August 28 after being caught fishing out of season for pink snapper in Warnbro Sound in 2016.
Each were charged with contravening a provision order and fishing using a boat without a recreational fishing licence.
The Fisheries Prosecutor said Fisheries officers located on a vantage point in Warnbro Sound on November 23 at 4.30am observed a small white boat anchored over an artificial reef in Warnbro Sound.
They watched the people on board pull aboard and retain a large pink snapper followed shortly after by another catch of a large pink snapper.
The boat then made its way to the Port Kennedy boat ramp where officers immediately questioned those on board.
Officers spoke to Domney first, who said he had not caught any pink snapper and was fishing for sharks.
Officers searched the boat and found three pink snapper hidden in the floor of the boat.
Domney then told the officers he had caught them outside of Warnbro Sound.
Francis told officers he had not caught any pink snapper before later admitting he had caught two pink snapper.
Gakis told officers that he was not actually on board the boat before changing his story, telling officers he was on board but only sunbaking.
Leeson left after telling officers he was not on board the boat.
Extensive investigations by Fisheries later located Leeson.
None of the men had a recreational fishing licence.
Domney had a prior conviction for illegally catching blue manna crabs.
Magistrate Vivian Edwards fined the quartet.
Domney fined $1500 and made to pay an extra $765.
Francis was fined $1000, Gakis $1200 and Leeson $1400, with the three also fined the extra $765 each.