TWO western suburbs seniors have been fined for breaking laws protecting Rottnest Island rock lobsters.
The Department of Fisheries started Operation Bagana, targeting the crimes, this summer.
Last month, Cottesloe man George Frank Waring (73) and Subiaco man Clive Valentine Addison (73) were found to have interfered with others’ rock lobster pots in December and November 2015, and October last year.
“Illegal interference with fishing gear has a maximum penalty of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for 12 months, and if you try to obstruct a fisheries officer from undertaking their lawful duties you will face further charges which carry penalties of up to $10,000 and 12 months imprisonment,” Department of Fisheries compliance manager Todd A’Vard said.
Mr A’Vard said Fisheries would not tolerate “fish thieves” threatening WA families’ ability to catch a lobster for a meal.
“Our message has been clear this season that we don’t tolerate any gear interference, and not only do you risk having your boat seized, you could have your fishing licence suspended or cancelled,” he said.
Mr Waring and Mr Addison were also charged with using more lobster pots than allowed by law.
They and two other men were charged after Fisheries and Marine surveillance, while five other boats have also been seized.
Mr Waring was fined $5000 plus costs and Mr Addison was penalised $2500 and costs.
Co-accused Digby Thomasnat Yeling (32), of Bicton, and East Fremantle man Thomas William Stransky (31) were both fined $10,000 and costs for offences including failing to tail clip the tails of recreationally-caught lobsters.
Report illegal fishing on 1800 815 507.