Redclaw bandits busted

The illegal redclaw haul
The illegal redclaw haul

Fishers fined $7,000 for 798 redclaw tails

Two Townsville fishos found with eight times the legal possession limit of redclaw have each been fined $3500.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Robert Ibell said officers found 798 redclaw tails in a freezer at a Kidston Dam camp in mid 2015.

“The possession limit for redclaw is 40 per person but in this case two of four fishers at the camp had 319 of the freshwater crayfish over the possession limit,” Mr Ibell said.

“They were also fishing with five traps more than is legally allowed and their fishing gear was not correctly tagged with the owner’s name and address.

The fishers faced 11 charges in the Townsville Magistrates Court, including unlawfully possessing regulated fish and failing to comply with fishing gear laws.

They had no conviction recorded and all 18 fishing traps were forfeited to the court.

Mr Ibell said possession limits and restrictions to freshwater fishing gear were in place to protect Queensland’s valuable fish stocks from overfishing.

“A fisher must not use more than four canister, collapsible, funnel, round traps or four dillies, or a combination of these traps at one time.

“There is no size limit for redclaw, however, the possession limit is 40 from their natural range which is the Gulf of Carpentaria drainage and from Jacky Jacky River basin south to the Normanby River basin on the north east coast of Queensland.

“Female redclaw carrying eggs and young must be returned to the water when taken from these waters.”

Fishers have a responsibility to ensure they understand and are up-to-date with Queensland’s fishing rules.

While some of us may feel sorry for these guys having to pay $3500 each, if everyone did this sort of thing, our fisheries would be in dire straits. So a deterrent is needed.