Roadside checks near Baldivis net massive haul of undersized crabs

Staff ReporterSound Telegraph
Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Darren Scholfield with seized nets and undersized crabs and fish.
Camera IconSupervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Darren Scholfield with seized nets and undersized crabs and fish.

Four people face potentially hefty fines after being found in joint possession of almost three times the daily bag limit of blue swimmer crabs during roadside checks on Kwinana Freeway near Baldivis.

The roadside checks, part of Operation Deepsilver, were manned by 21 Fisheries staff and seven police officers from Mandurah and Rockingham on Saturday, with more than 200 cars per hour checked in the first three hours.

Most of the more serious offences were detected in the late evening.

Of 117 crabs found in the quartet’s vehicle, 115 were undersized, which Department of Primary Industries and Region Development Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Darren Schofield called ‘shocking to see’.

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“Knowing so many undersized crabs were taken raises significant concerns,” Mr Schofield said.

“We returned the crabs to the water as quickly as possible, but sadly we know that not all will survive because of the time they have been out of the water.”

Operation Deepsilver also detected netting-related offences, 29 undersized crabs and four undersized bream in another vehicle with four occupants, who also face prosecution.

In other roadside checks, illegal possession of marron triggered further investigations, and a $1000 fine was issued for a driver of a vehicle with 15 undersized crabs.

Fines of $200 were also issued to nine people for having undersized crabs, and two $75 infringements were given for taking crabs by illegal means.

There were 18 warnings issued to people in possession of undersized crabs or fish.

Mr Schofield said all of the crabs and fish were taken from the Peel Harvey Estuary, with the exception of the marron.

“In all, 279 undersized crabs were seized on the night, along with 108 legal size crabs,” he said.

“This year there are higher numbers of undersized crabs in Mandurah’s waterways, so it’s an absolute must that fishers measure their catch carefully and leave the undersized ones to grow.”

Details on the State’s fishing rules and limits can be found on the department’s website and in the Recreational fishing guide.

Report suspicious catches to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

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