A RECREATIONAL fisher who used social media to sell his catch has been fined $3000 for the illegal activity in the Mackay Magistrates’ Court.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol Mackay district officer Craig Bambling said officers were alerted to the illegal activity by a tip-off on the Mackay district 24-hour complaint line. “The caller said a Facebook post had been shared on the Moranbah community notice board Facebook page,” Mr Bambling said. “A Fisheries officer did a search and found a Facebook page advertising the sale of fresh seafood. The next day a post was made on the same page stating: ‘Live Mud Crabs available tonight 7pm to 8pm and early tomorrow 7am to 10am’.”
Mr Bambling said as a result, Fisheries officers executed a search warrant on a Moranbah residence with a chalk sign in the driveway reading ‘seafood here’. “A search found and seized 20 live mud crabs, three cooked mud crabs and eight frozen tropical rock lobster tails,” he said. “Thirteen mud crabs were viable to be returned to the Pioneer River. The defendant pleaded guilty to charges of taking fisheries resource for commercial sale and failing to hold an appropriate authority to commercially sell a fisheries resource. The defendant was fined $3000 with no conviction recorded.”
Mr Bambling said advertising on social media to sell fish or seafood was a common complaint. “We would like to thank the general public for their vigilance and willingness to report people doing the wrong thing,” he said.
If you suspect illegal fishing, whether seen in person or online, report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. Don’t engage with the person, as this can compromise an investigation.
For more information on Queensland’s fishing rules, visit fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free Qld Fishing app from Apple and Google app stores. You can follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@FisheriesQld).