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illegal fisherman slammed with 8K fine

11 December 2014

A Yorke Peninsula man has been found guilty of two counts of selling yabbies without a licence in Kadina Magistrates Court.

Robert Bruce Wilkinson, received fines and court costs totalling $8388, after being convicted of selling a total of 76kg of yabbies on two separate occasions during 2011 and 2012.

The 60 year old was detected by PIRSA Fisheries Officers as a result of a joint investigation with NSW Fisheries, where Mr Wilkinson had previously worked as a commercial fisherman.

PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture Regional Manager, Randel Donovan, said the result demonstrated that there was little to gain for those who choose to deliberately defy fishing rules.

"The Fisheries Management Act not only ensures the sustainability of local fish stocks but also restricts the illegal sale and distribution of interstate fish not taken under an authority. Those who choose to break the rules are doing a disservice to the entire fishing community," Mr Donovan said.

"It is particularly disappointing to see this kind of blatant disregard of the rules from someone who had a history of involvement with the fishing industry as both a fisherman and fish processor."

Mr Donovan said the conviction should also send a timely reminder to all fishers that only appropriately licensed commercial fishers or registered fish processors can sell their catch.

"It is illegal for recreational fishers to buy, sell or trade any of their catch without the necessary authority and they face a fine of up to $20,000. Similarly, it is also an offence to purchase fish that have been taken illegally," he said.

"If members of the public become aware of anyone seeking to unlawfully profit from the sale of recreationally caught fish, we urge them to contact Fishwatch so that Fisheries Officers can investigate."

Suspicious or illegal fishing activity can be reported to the 24 hour Fishwatch number 1800 065 522. Reports of illegal fishing activity can also be made through the SA Recreational Fishing Guide smartphone app, available for download from www.pir.sa.gov.au/recfishingapp

Yabby_PIRSA