Fishers fined for setting illegal nets
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.”