A man, who was sitting on his fish ruler when apprehended by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development off the Pilbara coast has been fined more than $3000 for having nine undersize fish. In May, the 64-year-old Dardanup man was found by DPIRD compliance officers with seven blue tuskfish and two grass emperors below the minimum prescribed lengths. During a Karratha court hearing last month, the court heard the man’s cooler box contained a total of 13 demersal fish, which exceeded the bag limit of five for category one demersal finfish. The offender did not attend court and had entered an endorsed plea of guilty. The 64-year-old was fined $3604.30 for taking the nine totally protected fish and having more than twice the bag limit of demersal finfish. Meanwhile, on October 25 at the Karratha Court two men who had been checked by DPIRD compliance officers at 40 Mile Beach Boat Ramp after spearfishing last October were fined for having more than double the daily catch limit of coral trout. The two Karratha men, both aged 25, were found with a combined catch of five coral trout and one blackspot tuskfish and only one had a current recreational boat fishing licence. In a recorded interview, the master of the vessel admitted to taking four of the coral trout, despite the daily bag limit being one per licenced person. In relation to his offences of taking more than twice the limit of a category one demersal finfish and being the master of the boat who exceeded the combined boat bag limit, he was issued with fines, penalties and costs totalling $2244.30. The second man was convicted for fishing without a recreational boat fishing licence and failing to state his name, principal place of residence and date of birth when asked by a Fisheries Officer and was fined $964.30. DPIRD supervising fisheries and marine officer Michael Dunne said size and bag limits were designed to help protect undersize fish and ensure people don’t take more than they should. “Our laws are designed to help keep our fisheries sustainable,” he said.