A SNEAKY thief has been caught on camera getting into a crab pot for a bite to eat on a Hervey Bay beach. 

Fisheries Queensland caught the moment a fox happened upon an ill-placed pot in the Sandy Straits. 

While a Fisheries Queensland spokesman said it was out of the ordinary to catch an animal entering a crab pot on the cameras set up to nab humans who illegally interfere with pots. 

Fishers must make sure their crab pots are set in a sufficient depth of water at all stages of the tide.

This is to ensure that marine animals are not exposed to the sun and that unwanted crabs and non-target species can be released alive.

Under Fisheries Regulations, it is an offence for any part of the crab pot to be out of the water if there is a regulated fish inside, other than for the fisher to immediately remove the fish from the fishing apparatus.

Interference with crab pots is a significant problem across Queensland. A high percentage of fisheries complaints received by Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol relates to crab pot interference.

Anyone caught interfering with a crab pot faces a $1178 on-the-spot fine or a maximum penalty of $58,900.

For more information on responsible crabbing, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or download the free 'Qld Fishing' app from Apple and Google app stores.

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