Two commercial fishers have had their licences suspended with others fined a total of $18,000 after court cases involving more than 50 charges against three fishers were heard in three Queensland Magistrates courts.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the penalties imposed by the courts reflected the serious nature of the offences.
“These penalties should send a loud message to all fishers that illegal activity will be prosecuted, and appropriate penalties applied,” Mr Furner said.
“In particular, the five-year licence suspension for obstructing Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) Inspectors handed down in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court is a clear signal that obstructing QBFP staff will not be tolerated.
“The licence suspension is a welcome outcome as the defendant was found guilty of three offences on two separate occasions.
“Similarly, the penalties imposed by the Bundaberg Magistrates court reflect serious and repeated offending, including selling fish on the black market.
“The commercial fisher was fined $13,000 and his commercial fisher licence suspended for two years for 18 offences including possessing and selling regulated fish and catch reporting irregularities.
“His illegal haul included female and undersized mud crabs, sawfish rostrums, and several undersized fish species.
“And in the Caboolture Magistrates Court a commercial fisher was fined $5000 for 31 offences relating to not providing all of the required information in his logbooks.
“These examples of blatant disregard for the rules are disturbing but highlight the diligence of QBFP officers in detecting them and prosecuting them through the courts.”
Mr Furner said all fishers had a responsibility to abide by laws to ensure a sustainable future for all fishers.
“Our state’s fisheries resources belong to all Queenslanders and there is simply no excuse for commercial fishers not following the very rules designed to protect their industry,” he said.
“For example, valid and reliable logbook data is vital to assessing and monitoring stock status, a key element to making sure there are fish for our children and grandchildren.
“Commercial fishing is not easy work and the vast majority of commercial fishers do the right thing, but all fishers need to understand the regulations otherwise you will be caught and you will be prosecuted.”