A MAN who pulled another’s craypots was fined $1000 at Rockingham Magistrates Court on April 24.
Adam Steven Pratt pleaded guilty in his absence to unlawful interference of fishing gear.
The Fisheries Prosecutor said the owners of the craypots saw Pratt pull one of their pots into his boat at 6.10am on October 22 last year.
He said the owners called out alerting Pratt to the fact he was pulling their pots.
Pratt replied that his had been stolen and that he was checking to see if they were his.
Fisheries did a search warrant on Pratt’s home and confiscated his boat with trailer and some fishing gear.
“They also consfiscated five rock lobsters that did not have their tails punched as required for a recreational fishing licence.
Fisheries officers reported that Pratt said he took them because someone had taken his.
Appearing on his behalf Pratt’s lawyer accepted the facts and said his client thought the pots were his when the owners called out.
He said Pratt had then replied ‘well mine must have been stolen then.’
He asked for a Community Based Order or a significant fine.
The Fisheries Prosecutor said the maximum penalty of $25,000 for the offence was for general deterrence.
“It is designed to protect the rock lobster fishery for future generations,” he said.
“Pulling another person’s pot has a significant effect on them and there is clear evidence that the community will not tolerate these offences. The incidence of fishing gear tampering has increased 120 per cent. In response we launched an extensive media campaign in 2016/2017 in which we liaised closely with Recfishwest. Seizing perpetrators boats is another level of deterrence due to the seriousness of the offence.”
He said it is difficult to mistake another’s pots as they are uniquely marked with their respective owner’s identification numbers.
Magistrate Gregory Raymond Smith fined Pratt $1000 but did not make an order for seizure of Pratt’s boat.