Fishers learn the hard way
YOU can’t take excess abalone, throw some back and then claim you’re under the bag limit.
And you can’t pull up a family member’s craypots if you’ve already pulled up your own craypots that day.
It is not wise to lie to Fisheries officers either.
These were some of the lessons learned in Joondalup Magistrates Court on August 3 in a session dominated by fish poaching hearings that led to a magistrate handing out more than $24,000 in fines across nearly a dozen cases.
The biggest penalty was for Eduardo Rossi, who pulled up more than the allowed four craypots five times while fishing with his son off Ocean Reef boat harbour last November.
Rossi, who had 20 years fishing experience, was caught with 16 lobsters on one of the boating trips, leading to a $4000 mandatory penalty.
He said the extra pots were his wife’s and he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.
Magistrate Deen Potter fined him a further $2500, taking his penalty to $6500.
In another hearing, Yang Zhao admitted to taking too many abalone from Ocean Reef and then lying to a Fisheries officer.
He exceeded the bag limit by 29 shellfish on February 3, but told the court he intended to take the bag limit and then throw the smaller abalone back into the water.
The Fisheries prosecutor said any abalone removed from the reef countPERTH ed towards the bag limit, regardless of whether a fisher kept them.
Zhao also lied when he said some of the excess abalone in his possession were not his. He claimed some of them were caught by his mother-in-law, who was sitting on the beach. He was fined $2620. In a December 9 incident at Burns Beach, an officer asked abalone catcher Naibin Li to produce a current abalone licence.
He gave the officer a false name and provided a licence that was not his.
He admitted to giving false details and not having a licence.
He apologised in a letter to the court, saying it was a “silly idea” after his licence had expired. Mr Potter fined him $1500.
Other fines included $5620 for Ren Wu, who took undersized abalone and exceeded the bag limit by 90 off Yanchep on January 13.
Also in Yanchep, Conrad Thomas Waikari did not have a licence and was fishing out of season when he took an abalone, a sea urchin and three undersize lobsters on March 1. He was fined $4550.
At Burns Beach on May 5, Clyde Tua and Warren Tarehu Grey, took 31 abalone between them out of season.
Tua was fined $730. Grey was fined $700.
On March 13 at Ocean Reef, Patrick Duncan Healy took 28 abalone outside season and was fined $1840.