The hefty penalties for flouting fishing regulations were highlighted by a recent case involving illegal fishing for abalone in the South-West. WA boasts some of the best-managed fisheries in the world, but healthy fish stocks also rely on recreational fishers complying with bag, size and possession limits.
The vast majority of recreational fishers abide by the regulations in the interests of maintaining high-quality fisheries, but unfortunately not all do so. Three Perth men were prosecuted in Busselton Court after being found in joint possession of 342 abalone, more than a third of which were undersize.
The three men were each fined $500 and also ordered to each pay a mandatory additional penalty of $8460 and to share court costs of $169.10. Busselton Court heard the bag and possession limits for roe’s abalone in the Southern Zone were twenty per fisher per day and when Fisheries and Marine Officers inspected the trio’s catch, they found the men had 282 abalone in excess of the allowable number.
The men had been fishing for abalone at Bunker Bay and all pleaded guilty.
This prosecution was one of a number of offences detected through Operation Katla, conducted by Fisheries and Marine Officers since late last year to focus on abalone fishing in the Capes area.
The current fishing season for abalone in WA’s Southern Zone, from Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border, continues until 15 May.
Information on zones, rules and season times for abalone fishing in WA are outlined in the Recreational fishing for abalone guide, which is available online at www.fish.wa.gov.au.