Port Macquarie crabber faces court

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A 40 year-old Port Macquarie man has been ordered to forfeit his boat, outboard motor and boat trailer after pleading guilty to possessing a commercial quantity of mud crabs, in Port Macquarie Local Court earlier this month.

Acting Director Fisheries Compliance Pat Tully said Department of Primary Industries (DPI) fisheries officers were conducting a surveillance operation of the Hastings River in March when they apprehended the man.

“Fisheries officers found 39 priority species mud crabs in the man’s vessel, more than eight times the daily possession limit and considered a commercial quantity,” Tully said.

“The crabs were returned to the water alive and an application was made for the forfeiture of his fishing equipment, including his boat, which was successful.”

Mr Tully said the conviction sends a strong message that illegal fishing in NSW will not be tolerated.

“The Hastings River is a Recreational Fishing Haven closed to commercial fishing methods and fisheries officers will continue to crack down on illegal crab catching,” Tully said.

“Mud crabs have a high commercial value and the mid-north coast has had a good season for crabs resulting in some exceptional crab catches.

“Fishers are reminded of the strict regulations and gear restrictions in place for crab catching, and that a bag limit of five mud crabs per person per day applies.”

Recreational fishers are strongly encouraged to contact their local district fisheries office to find out the rules relating to recreational crabbing in their local area, as tough penalties apply for breaches of this legislation.

“Our State’s aquatic environment is a community-owned resource and we all have a responsibility to protect and safeguard this natural asset,” Tully concluded.

More info available at

Anyone who suspects illegal fishing can report it to the Fisher’s Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or online at

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