A fisher has been caught with nearly four times the daily catch limit for crabs and could face fines of up to $20,000 – a timely reminder to follow recreational fishing limits this holiday season.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the reminder comes after a tip-off from the public which led to a fisher being caught for exceeding the combined limit for Blue Swimmer and Sand Crabs.
"Responding to information received via Fishwatch, fisheries officers detected the fisher at Henley Jetty who was caught with a total of 72 crabs – a staggering 52 in excess of the combined daily total of 20 per person," said Minister Whetstone.
"The fisher allegedly was also deliberately concealing his illegal catch of 64 Blue Swimmer Crabs and eight Sand Crabs by taking them back to his vehicle in an effort to avoid detection.
"Of the 64 Blue Swimmer Crabs, three were under the legal minimum size limit of 11 cm and four had their eggs forcibly removed. The fisher was also using a total of five drop nets, two in excess of the total allowed per person.
"Heading into the New Year holiday period this is a timely reminder for those wanting to drop a line or a net to follow the rules."
Minister Whetstone said the most disappointing aspect of this incident is the fisher allegedly not only had a gauge to measure the crabs but also admitted to knowing the rules and regulations regarding crab fishing in South Australia.
"As a result the offender may now face fines of up to $20,000 plus an additional penalty of five times the commercial value of the illegally taken crabs," said Minister Whetstone.
"These limits are in place to protect the state’s fisheries and we all have a role to play in preserving our fish stocks. I would like to thank the members of the public who contacted Fishwatch and provided the information that led to the apprehension.
"The majority of fishers follow the rules to ensure the long-term sustainability of our fish stocks for future generations to enjoy. This sort of blatant disregard of the rules hurts not only fishers who do the right thing, but also has the potential to put South Australian fisheries at risk.
"Our fisheries officers undertake covert patrols to assist in confirming any information that is received and this incident should act as a reminder to those who may be tempted to flout the laws that if they do the wrong thing they will be caught."
Illegal or suspicious fishing activity can be reported to the 24-hour Fishwatch number 1800 065 522. Callers can speak to a Fisheries Officer and may choose to remain anonymous.
Reports of illegal fishing activity can also be made through the SA Recreational Fishing Guide app, available via www.pir.sa.gov.au/recfishingapp.