Fines for snapper catch out of season
FOUR MEN APPREHENDED IN WARNBRO SOUND
ONE man who claimed to be sunbathing as opposed to fishing for pink snapper at 4.30am 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 man was charged with contravening a provision of an order and fishing using a boat without a recreational fishing licence.
The Fisheries Prosecutor said Fisheries officers at 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 people on board it 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 that instead he 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 at the ramp that he was not actually on board the boat before changing his story and telling officers he was on board but only sunbathing.
Leeson tried to leave, telling officers he was also not on board the boat.
Extensive investigations by fisheries later located Leeson.
None of the men on board had a recreational fishing licence.
The maximum penalty is $10,000 and an additional $765.
Domney had a prior conviction for illegally catching blue manna crabs.
Magistrate Vivian Edwards issued fines to the men.
Domney was fined $1500 and made to pay the $765; Francis was fined $1000 and $765; Gakis was fined $1200 and $765 and Leeson was fined $1400 plus $765.