A Paralowie man is in deep water and could face fines of up to $20,000 after being found in possession of more than 300 Blue Swimmer Crabs – 15 times the legal limit.
The late-night patrol by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) Fisheries Officers was undertaken following recent reports to the Fishwatch hotline of a fisher exceeding their limits and taking undersize Blue Swimmer Crabs between Largs Bay and Grange.
In the early hours of Tuesday 14 January 2020, Fisheries Officers found a Paralowie man on Tennyson Beach returning from crabbing with a kayak holding two bins containing 218 Blue Swimmer Crabs, including 114 which were undersize.
A further search of the man's vehicle located another 106 Blue Swimmer Crabs on ice, 66 of which were undersize, with one carrying external eggs.
Acting Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the glaring breach of fishing rules was disgraceful.
"Fishing limits are in place to protect the state's fish stocks to ensure a fair go for all fishers and this deliberate disregard of the rules cannot be tolerated," said Minister van Holst Pellekaan.
"We all have a role to play in preserving our fisheries and this offence – 15 times over the daily limit of 20 crabs per person – shows a total disrespect for the rules that protect stocks and enable fishing for all.
"It's extremely disappointing to see this type of behaviour and catching this person in the act should be a strong reminder to those who ignore the laws that if you do the wrong thing, you will be caught.
"Our dedicated Fisheries Officers undertake patrols at all hours of the day and night and information received from the public helps to inform where these efforts should be focused.
"I commend those members of the public who provided the information to Fishwatch. It is incredibly valuable in detecting and prosecuting illegal fishing activity."
A total of 324 Blue Swimmer Crabs were seized, along with a kayak, waders, crab rake, esky and fish tubs. The fisher was in possession of a gauge to measure the crabs, which need to be a minimum of 11cm when measured from the base of the largest spine.
The matter will now be prosecuted in court, where the offender may face fines of up to $20,000 plus an additional penalty of five times the commercial value of the illegally taken crabs.