Hedland skipper and fishing partner issued hefty fines as DPIRD warns against illegal fishing

Mia BurgessNorth West Telegraph
The fisheries officer counted nine demersal fish, which would have been OK if each man had a licence but the Ellenbrook man did not.
Camera IconThe fisheries officer counted nine demersal fish, which would have been OK if each man had a licence but the Ellenbrook man did not. Credit: Supplied

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has warned against illegal fishing after a Hedland skipper and his fishing partner were caught providing misinformation to a fisheries compliance officer.

The two men had been fishing in the Port Hedland man’s vessel on January 21 when a fisheries compliance officer inspected their catch at the Port Hedland boat ramp.

When the men were asked to produce their licences, the Port Hedland man lied to the officer about the identity of his fishing partner, after the Ellenbrook man produced a licence that belonged to his cousin.

Section 199 of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 states that a person must not state anything or give or produce any document to a fisheries officer that the person knows is false or misleading.

The South Hedland Magistrates Court was told that the man, who did not have a recreational fishing from boat licence, had produced his cousin’s licence because “he didn’t want anyone to get into trouble”.

DPIRD north regional compliance director Stuart McDowall said the case in Hedland showed the foolishness of giving false information.

“If our compliance officers suspect illegal fishing activity, they have wide-ranging powers to investigate,” he said.

“Keep that in mind this summer and know that when your vessel is being inspected by our officers, they are safeguarding WA’s fishing rules and we know that law-abiding fishers expect DPIRD’s compliance officers to act if they uncover wrongdoing.”

The court fined the Hedland man $559.30 for giving false or misleading information.

The Ellenbrook man was fined $1659.30, including $1200 for false and misleading information, $200 for fishing from a boat and not having a licence for that, plus court costs.

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