Crustacean fishers fined

Joachim AzzopardiCountryman

Five recreational fishers, who appeared in front of the Mandurah Magistrates Court for illegal hauls of crustaceans, will be feeling the pinch after being ordered to pay hefty fines and penalties.

Roland Thomas Fletcher and Keith Edward Fletcher, both of Halls Head, were found guilty of excess bag limit offences when they appeared in court last month.

The twin brothers were ordered to pay fines and penalties of $7500 each for jointly having 40 rock lobsters, more than the recreational fishing rules allow.

When the 67-year-old men where apprehended by Fisheries and Marine officers in December 2010 at Horseshoe Reef in Comet Bay they were anchored and fishing with rods from their vessel.

During a search of the vessel, the officers found a total of 52 rock lobsters on board, two of which were measured as undersized and returned to the water.

The daily bag limit for western rock lobster is six per licence-holder and the boat limit is 12 when two or more licensed fishers are on board.

South metro region compliance manager John Breeden said the court-imposed fines of $1500 plus the mandatory penalty of $6000 for the rock lobsters involved in the offences would serve as a strong reminder that breaching WA fishing rules was just not worth it.

"Bag and boat limits are set to ensure sustainability of the State's fisheries," Mr Breeden said.

In another case, Dingping Wen, of Gosnells, was ordered to pay more than $1840 for possession of 18 blue manna crabs with a carapace size less than the legal minimum 127mm size.

The 35-year-old was apprehended at 8.35pm two days after Christmas Day in 2010 while towing a foam tub and carrying a scoop net as he walked near the shoreline of the Harvey Estuary at Island Point.

At the same location on February 2 this year, about mid-evening, two other people were apprehended by Fisheries and Marine officers for bag limit breaches.

Also in Mandurah Magistrates Court last month, 52-year-old Delia Manolong Strahan and 61-year-old Angelina Brljevich, both of Collie, were fined for having 19 and 11 excess crabs, respectively.

Strahan was ordered to pay more than $1680 for her fine, mandatory penalty and court costs. Brljevich received a fine, penalty and costs totalling more than $1060.

Mr Breeden said all crab fishers should know crab fishing was now in a closed season for the Peel-Harvey Estuary and Cockburn Sound.

The Peel-Harvey blue manna crab season reopens on November 1 and Cockburn Sound on December 15.

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