Illegal crabbers trapped

NSW Fisheries officers are continuing to crack down on illegal crab trapping on the state’s mid-north coast.

Department of Primary Industries Acting Director Fisheries Compliance Tony Andrews said in a covert patrol near Port Macquarie, a 40 year-old male was recently apprehended for allegedly using excess crab traps that were not marked as required.

“The man had 39 mud crabs in his possession, about eight times over the daily bag and possession limit, which was deemed to be of a commercial quantity of a listed priority species,” Mr Andrews said.

“Fisheries officers seized the man’s boat and outboard motor, the vessel trailer, fishing gear and returned the mud crabs to the water alive.”

The man is expected to receive a court attendance notice, and an application is being made for forfeiture of the seized items.

“I strongly encourage all recreational fishers to follow the rules and mark traps and nets correctly with the fisher’s initial, surname, year of birth and postcode,” Mr Andrews said.

Mr Andrews said the man will face the charge of possession of more than the maximum quantity of fish in circumstances of aggravation, which carries a maximum penalty of $44,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment.

“In addition, if found guilty of exceeding the possession limit of a priority species, the courts may impose an additional penalty of up to 10 times the market value of the fish,” Mr Andrews said.

“The numbers of traps that are legally allowed to be used by both commercial and recreational fishers have been set to maintain a workable and sustainable fishery.

“Fisheries officers regularly patrol these waters and will apprehend and prosecute anyone involved in illegal fishing.”

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For more information about NSW fishing rules and closures, download the NSW Recreational Saltwater Fishing Guide at Report illegal fishing activity to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 056.

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