Fish­ers fined for set­ting il­le­gal nets

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Two South Hed­land res­i­dents have been slapped with $500 fines as well as court costs for il­le­gal fish­ing prac­tices around Port Hed­land’s Fin­u­cane Is­land.

Both men faced the Kar­ratha Mag­is­trates Court on Oc­to­ber 17 where a state­ment of facts was pre­sented by Depart­ment of Fish­eries.

The court was told Muham­mad West­ley, 27, and Wat­son Ranet, 60, were dis­cov­ered by Fish­eries of­fi­cers about 8.30pm on Jan­uary 22 us­ing haul or set nets against reg­u­la­tions in West Creek.

Upon in­spec­tion of their ves­sel Fish­eries of­fi­cers found two mud­cov­ered an­chors on the deck of the ves­sel, a black esky con­tain­ing four sea mul­let and two giz­zard shad, and a white bag con­tain­ing a large mesh net, with nu­mer­ous small sinkers and red floats at­tached.

In a video record of in­ter­view pre­sented to the court, Mr West­ley ad­mit­ted he caught the fish with the net which had been an­chored in the water and held at the other end on the beach at Downes Is­land.

Mr Ranet, who Mr West­ley said was the skip­per, re­fused to take part in a record of in­ter­view.

Out­side court, DoF Kar­ratha su­per­vis­ing fish­eries and ma­rine of­fi­cer Emily Hen­der­son said the fine should serve as a warn­ing to oth­ers un­der­tak­ing il­le­gal fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

“This out­come shows that DoF won’t hes­i­tate to pros­e­cute fish­ers who fish il­le­gally with nets,” she said. “We urge all fish­ers to be aware of the rules and to fol­low the rules in the Recre­ational Net Fish­ing Guide 2016/17. Also, if they see or sus­pect il­le­gal fish­ing ac­tiv­i­ties re­port the details to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.”

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