A recreational fisherman in Western Australia is more than $12,000 poorer after being arrested for catching close to double the daily bag limit of baldchin groper.
The man’s downfall was to brag on Facebook last summer about his day’s fishing, leading Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) compliance officers to use their extensive search and seizure powers.
The boat had been observed around the Abrolhos Islands over a 24-hour period when they fisheries officers saw the post with the baldchin gropers laid out on the deck. Even with six people on the boat, the Facebook post showing 46 baldchin groper is practically double the allowable bag limit that would have allowed then to 24 demersal fish over two days.
Slow-growing baldchin gropers take between five and seven years to grow to a length of 40cm, and the stock is under pressure from fishing effort.
DPIRD’s Director Regional Compliance in the Midwest, Mick Kelly said it was shocking there was nearly double the allowable limit of demersal fish in the photo on the social media post.
‘Fishing rules are designed to support sustainability and when community standards are breached by the greedy, like this, we know that law-abiding fishers expect our officers to act,’ he said.
In an appearance before a Geraldton court the boat’s owner was ordered to pay a $2000 fine, a mandatory additional penalty of $8580 and costs of $1467.70, altogether adding up to $12,047.70.