Net drops on fish­er­men who fail to obey the law

Midwest Times - - NEWS - A Carnar­von man was fined and had his fish­ing gear seized af­ter catch­ing these crabs and fish in the Fish Habi­tat Pro­tec­tion Area at Mi­a­boolya Beach. Most were also un­der­sized.

Three men have copped stiff penal­ties in Carnar­von Mag­is­trate’s Court this month for fish­ing in no-take ar­eas.

One man was fined $7475, an­other or­dered to pay $2645 and a third fined $2525 for il­le­gal fish­ing in the Mi­a­boolya Beach Fish Habi­tat Pro­tec­tion Area.

Fish­eries of­fi­cers charged Carnar­von man An­drew Nguyen, 59, with sev­eral of­fences af­ter ap­pre­hend­ing him on June 26.

Along with 29 green mud crabs, Nguyen also had six blue swim­mer crabs, five mul­loway, two es­tu­ary cod, two mul­let, two eels, one yel­lowfin bream, a Mal­abar cod and a st­ingray in his pos­ses­sion.

Most of these were smaller than their le­gal size lim­its.

Of­fi­cers also seized and for­feited a large quan­tity of fish­ing gear as part of the sen­tence.

Fish­eries of­fi­cers stopped two other Carnar­von men, Canh Vo, 32, and Van Vo, 51, in a ute as they were leav­ing the edge of Mi­a­boolya Creek on March 18.

Both ad­mit­ted to us­ing three traps to take some of the 11 green mud crabs, 10 of which were smaller than the le­gal size of 150mm.

They were charged with a num­ber of of­fences. A Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment spokesman said Fish Habi­tat Pro­tec­tion Ar­eas need to be re­spected as im­por­tant fish and crab nurs­eries.

“Mi­a­boolya Beach FHPA, has been pro­tected un­der WA’s fish laws since April 2003, be­cause it has ex­cep­tional eco­log­i­cal and com­mu­nity sig­nif­i­cance and is vul­ner­a­ble to over­fish­ing,” he said.

“The net is now drop­ping on peo­ple who ig­nore the law.

“Op­er­a­tion East­burn has been set up to tar­get of­fend­ers who are risk­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of this nurs­ery, with fish­ing meth­ods that in­dis­crim­i­nately kill ev­ery­thing they catch.”

Carnar­von dis­trict Fish­eries and Ma­rine of­fi­cer Matt Clarke said lost traps and nets con­tin­ued to “ghost fish” and be­came an on­go­ing risk to the pro­tec­tion area.

“Un­for­tu­nately, it’s not un­com­mon for fish­eries and ma­rine of­fi­cers to come across il­le­gal fish­ing gear that’s been for­got­ten or traps and nets hid­den for fu­ture use,” he said.

“I urge any­one with in­for­ma­tion about sus­pected il­le­gal fish­ing ac­tiv­ity there to call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 and re­port what they know.”

Mi­a­boolya Beach FHPA ... is vul­ner­a­ble to over­fish­ing DPIRD spokesman

Pic­ture: DPIRD

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