Man fined $1000 for illegal use of fish traps

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
The traps seized by compliance officers in May.
Camera IconThe traps seized by compliance officers in May.

A 69-year-old Margaret River man was fined in absentia at Onslow’s courthouse earlier this month for possession of illegal fish traps.

Nigel Shane Lovejoy entered an endorsed plea of guilty and was fined $1000 for the offence following prosecution by Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development compliance officers.

In May, Lovejoy was reported driving his recreational boat through Beadon Creek, Onslow, with six fish traps on the bow.

Officers later travelled from Exmouth to execute a search warrant, with support of WA Police, at an Onslow property where the six fish traps were seized.

In a video record of interview, Lovejoy admitted he was the master of the vessel seen on May 17 when the fish traps were on board.

DPIRD noted it was against WA’s fishing laws to use traps to take fish in the Indian Ocean, as well as any estuary, inlet, river, brook or stream.

It was also an offence for a master of a boat to carry illegal fishing gear in those waters, DPIRD said. The traps were forfeited as part of the penalty at the magistrate’s order.

During sentencing on December 8, fisheries officers said traps left unattended posed a risk to aquatic life through “self- baiting” or “ghost trapping”.

Sea creatures at risk from the traps included those needing to return to the surface to breathe, such as turtles and sea snakes.

Acting supervising fisheries and marine officer David Lewington said the $1000 fine for carrying prohibited gear on a boat should act as a deterrent.

He also thanked residents who reported the matter.

Anyone suspected of breaching WA fishing laws can be reported to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

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