A man has been fined $6000 and had his crab pots seized after being caught with undersized and protected crabs at Mud Island in Moreton Bay. Picture: Department of Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.
A man has been fined $6000 and had his crab pots seized after being caught with undersized and protected crabs at Mud Island in Moreton Bay. Picture: Department of Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.

Drones brought in to target illegal fishermen

Another hefty fine has been dished out and crab pots have been seized as authorities ramp up patrols to catch illegal fishers in the act, with drones now being deployed to make it even harder for offenders to hide.

Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said the man was found to have 28 undersized blue swimmer crabs, including two protected females. His crab pots were also improperly marked.

The man pleaded guilty to all charges in the Southport Magistrates Court.

"This sort of disregard for our rules has a serious impact on an important community resource and the livelihoods of the commercial sector this fishery supports," Mr Furner said.

"All fishers need to understand the regulations and requirements around size limits and the proper marking of crab pots.

"Otherwise, you will be caught and you will go to court.

"Tough enforcement is vital to building a legacy of a sustainable fishery for our children and grandchildren."

 

A shovelnose ray was also among the illegal catch. Picture: Department of Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.
A shovelnose ray was also among the illegal catch. Picture: Department of Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.

Member for Lytton Joan Pease said every recreational and commercial fisher shared the responsibility for responsible fishing.

"These resources belong to all Queenslanders and we need to make sure they are protected for future generations," Ms Pease said.

"This is a lifestyle for so many Queenslanders and we need to protect the fishery if we want future generations to enjoy it.

"It is not just fishing at stake here. It is the thousands of jobs that rely on the commercial and recreational fishing industries that we need to protect."

 

The illegal catch seized at Mud Island. Picture: Department of Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.
The illegal catch seized at Mud Island. Picture: Department of Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.

 

Mr Furner said Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol used technology and other techniques, including surveillance cameras, to uncover illegal activities.

"We also recently deployed drones as part of our compliance enforcement effort, making it even harder for people to hide illegal activities."

For more information on Queensland's fishing regulations, visit fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 132523 or download the free Qld Fishing app from Apple and Google stores.



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