Photos: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Recreational Fisher Convicted and Fined $6000 With Boat Forfeited

A RECREATIONAL fisher charged with possessing a regulated commercial fishing net and illegal fish has been convicted and fined $6000 and had his boat forfeited in the Ayr Magistrates’ Court.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol acting district officer Trevor Thomson said the man was a repeat offender and the prosecution followed a joint investigation with the Queensland Police Service.

“Police intercepted a vehicle near Barratta Creek in the early morning hours of September 18 last year and seized an Esky containing a quantity of barramundi fillets and two undersized mud crabs,” he said.

“A boat and fish frames were found nearby and when QBFP officers returned with police the next day they discovered a regulated fishing net wrapped in shade cloth hidden in mangroves.”

Mr Thomson said the fisher pleaded guilty to three offences under the Fisheries Act 1994 in the Ayr Magistrates’ Court.

Photos: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Photos: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Photos: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Photos: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
“The court recorded a conviction, fined the fisher $6000 plus court costs and ordered the forfeiture of the man’s boat, net and fish,” he said.

“Under Queensland law, a recreational fisher cannot possess a regulated commercial fishing net without an authority.

“The regulations limit a recreational fisher to possessing or using a seine net that is no longer than 16m with a mesh size no more than 28mm or a drop of 3m.

“In this case, the net was 32m long, had a mesh size of 125mm and a drop of 4.125m.

“This fisher was found to be over the possession limit of five barramundi by 15 fish and he had two mud crabs under the legal size limit of 15cm.”

If anyone suspects illegal fishing, they should report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116 so it can be investigated.

For more information on Queensland’s fishing rules, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

You can follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@FisheriesQld).

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2 comments

  1. Avatar

    Hi
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  2. Avatar

    Mr Thompson of QBFP said ” Under Qld law a recreational fisher cannot possess a regulated commercial fishing net without a permit”.

    Not so Mr Thompson.

    Under Qld law, Fisheries Regs Part 13 ( General Exceptions) :

    Section 126 (2):

    “A person may possess fishing apparatus (other than an otter trawl net) in the waters if the apparatus is stored inboard a boat”.

    “A person” is any person and is not restricted to commercial fishermen or regulated persons.

    “the waters” are “regulated waters” in this particular Part (General Exceptions).

    So any person can possess fishing apparatus in regulated waters under certain conditions.

    With that being the case, Chapter 4 Division 1 ( Regulated Fishing Apparatus Declarations)

    Section 178 (1) (b) provides:

    “A person must not buy, sell, possess or use commercial fishing apparatus unless –

    (b) the person holds an authority; OR

    (b) under this regulation or a management plan, the person is authorised to buy, sell, possess or use the apparatus”.

    Section 126 opens up the door for any person to possess a net in regulated waters under certain conditions.

    With that “possession” door open and applied via Section 178 (1) (b) general possession of commercial fishing apparatus is not an offence.

    Any person can buy, sell or possess commercial fishing apparatus. However, there must still be an authority to use in existence.

    This offender has been found guilty of an offence which doesn’t exist. He should appeal the net possession conviction. He deserved to go for the fish and crabs though.

    There’s a big difference between what the law actually provides and what Fisheries and the public would like it to provide.

    The Fisheries Act and Regulations combination is a flawed piece of legislation.

    That’s my view and I’m happy to have it corrected.

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