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Safety Bay man has boat impounded, forced to pay $6k in fines over fishing haul

Leeman offshore seizure of 20 demersals.

A day out on the water has cost a Safety Bay man his boat and more the $6,000 after he was caught with five times the possession while fishing north of Perth in August.

On Thursday, the Geraldton Magistrates Court heard the man was about 40 kilometres west of Leeman when compliance officers inspected his vessel and located 20 demersal scalefish in an 80ltr fridge/freezer.

Three WA dhufish, four baldchin groper and 13 pink snapper were located in an icebox on board the 7.7 metre offshore cruiser. With all the fish taken in the West Coast Region it exceeded his possession limit by 16. 

DPIRD’s prosecutor told the court the state-wide possession limit of whole fish is two days bag limit, meaning the maximum number of demersal scalefish a person can have in their possession in the West Coast Region is four. 

The 53-year-old plead guilty two three offences, including having twice the possession limit of Category one fish, taking twice the bag limit of Category one fish and being master of a vessel exceeding the WA Dhufish boat limit.

The man was granted a spent convition, had his boat impounded for 11 months, was ordered to pay $6339.80 in fines and was banned from going on a recreational fishing vessel and having any authority to fish for one year.

The man’s boat was seized for 11 months.

DPIRD’s Director of Regional Compliance for the Midwest and Gascoyne, Mick Kelly said the prohibitions granted in court, along with the fines and peanlties, indicate the seriousness of the offences.

“In Western Australia we’re into the second half of a 20-year recovery plan to help keep our State’s highly-valued demersal species sustainable,” Mr Kelly said. 

“DPIRD has a range of management measures, including bag and possession limits and seasonal closures, to support the recovery.

“Our compliance officers are also playing their part, on behalf of the broader community, to ensure there are fish for the future.”

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