A FISHING boat has been seized and forfeited to the state and a recreational fisher and restaurant manager fined more than $8600 for black marketing of red claw.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner welcomed the successful court prosecution, as the Queensland Government moves to further strengthen fisheries laws.
“Unlicensed selling of fisheries resources undermines the legitimate commercial fishing industry and threatens Queensland’s reputation as a producer of high-quality seafood,” Mr Furner said. “Reforms currently before Parliament are aimed squarely at fishers who illegally sell seafood on the black market, including stronger compliance powers for fisheries officers and higher penalties for offenders. The community has been calling for change to fisheries legislation for many years and these proposed reforms will bring Queensland fisheries management in line with world’s best practice.”
Member for Lytton Joan Pease said all fishers need to know the consequences of committing a serious fishing offence, which included losing their vessel. “If fishers are thinking about breaking the rules, they better be ready to risk losing their fishing boat,” Ms Pease said. “To reinforce that message, this particular forfeited vessel will be displayed at prominent boat ramps in southeast Queensland over coming weeks.”
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers intercepted a Kuraby-based fisher delivering almost 200 red claw to a Sunnybank restaurant in March. During the investigation, 82 freshwater traps, more than 133kg of red claw, a 4.5m catamaran and a kayak were also seized at Somerset Dam and Brisbane.
A recreational fisher, who was not a first-time offender, pleaded guilty to five charges including selling fisheries without a licence and using 78 excess and unmarked freshwater traps, was fined $7600 and had his vessel forfeited to the State.
A restaurant manager, who said he bought the red claw for a staff party and didn’t intend to sell it, was fined $1000 after pleading guilty to one count of selling seafood without an authority.
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