Fines a warning against over-fishing

NATALIE BROWNBusselton Dunsborough Times

A Busselton crab fisherman who took 27 more crustaceans than the legal limit was fined more than $1500 in Busselton Magistrate’s Court this week.

Mark Anthony Holland, 44, was fined $500, plus a mandatory $1080 fine, after taking 37 blue manna crabs from Geographe Bay on September 2.

Holland did not attend court for sentencing.

Department of Fisheries officer Steve Embling said Holland was seen by fisheries staff fishing alone in a dingy near Dolphin Road.

Holland was later stopped in a car park where the crabs were counted.

Mr Embling said Holland, who held a recreational fishing licence, was aware of the bag limit of 10 crabs and gave the excuse that he was “having friends over to watch football and have crab”.

The extra 27 crabs were taken by the officer and returned to the ocean alive.

Along with the fine, Magistrate Vivien Edwards also ordered Holland to pay $121.95 in costs.

Mr Embling told the Times there had been an increase in cautions issued to crab fishers recently.

The current rules allow 10 crabs to be caught by each recreational fishing licence holder.

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