In Legal Affairs

Western Australia Minister for Fisheries Norman Moore

New Mobile Patrols Are Frontline In Fisheries Department War On Illegal Fishing

Victor P Taffa

The State Government’s push to reduce pressure on fish stocks, improve public awareness of sustainability issues and reduce illegal activity is bearing fruit with the introduction of new Mobile Patrol Vehicles.

In Karratha for a meeting of Regional Cabinet today, Fisheries Minister Norman Moore took time to talk with staff and view one of the recently introduced Mobile Patrol Vehicles which covers the Pilbara Region.

The effectiveness of the Mobile Patrols’ compliance activities was shown by recent successes in catching and prosecuting fishers who flouted the law.

Mr. Moore said he wanted to ensure the Department of Fisheries was resourced to deal more adequately with the rising number of recreational fishers in the Pilbara.

“Recreational fishing is a very popular pastime with employees in the Pilbara’s surging resources sector.” the Minister said.

“Local Fisheries staff has reported rising numbers of boats and fishers in the Pilbara and, while the great majority of fishers are law abiding and understand the need to conserve fish stocks, some do engage in illegal fishing.”

“Three men were recently ordered to pay more than $13,600 in fines, penalties and court costs when they appeared in a Port Hedland court to answer fisheries charges.”

“They were caught by one of the Fisheries Department’s mobile land-patrol teams in July. In one case a fisher was caught with 22 undersize fish and 31 fish above the bag limit.”

“In another case, two offenders were jointly charged with having 18 fish more than the allowed limit.”

Further prosecutions are under way in Port Hedland and the Minister urged all fishers to abide by Western Australia’s sustainability rules to ensure there were fish for future generations.

Mr. Moore said the recently introduced mobile patrols had new four-wheel-drive vehicles, equipped with high-tech communications equipment to help officers in general monitoring work and to respond quickly to illegal fishing reports.

“There are two mobile patrol vehicles based in the north:  one in Broome, which covers the West Kimberley and Pilbara, and the other in Kununurra, for East Kimberley compliance work.” Mr. Moore said.

“The Broome-based mobile patrol covers a large area and carries out patrols and education activities in many remote camping areas and bush caravan parks in the Pilbara and West Kimberley regions.  Additional patrols are mobilised as required.”

The Minister reminded fishers of the need for a licence to fish from a motorised vessel and to know and adhere to the various fishing rules in Regions across WA.

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