Fish trap find ensnares unlawful prawn catcher

The Kimberley Echo
Some of the illegal pots seized by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.
Camera IconSome of the illegal pots seized by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Credit: DPIRD

A Kalbarri fisho has been ensnared by the judicial system for trying to illegally trap freshwater prawns in the Fitzroy River.

Graham Keith Simkin, 66, wasn’t in court this week when he was found guilty and fined $1500 by the Broome magistrate.

On Monday the court heard how Fisheries officers, from the now Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, came across six Opera House traps in Willems Pool baited with dog biscuits in June.

The court was told Simkin was interviewed by Fisheries officers at the pool and he admitted four of the traps were his and he had caught 34 cherabin on three other occasions.

DPIRD supervising fisheries and marine officer Peter Hurst said recreational fishers in the Kimberley needed to stay clear of using illegal fishing methods.

“The use of fish traps is widely banned in State waters, due to the potential impacts on aquatic life,” he said.

“Illegal recreational fish traps can be indiscriminate, because they may trap animals as well as fish and crabs.

“Animals particularly at risk are those who need to return to the surface to breathe, including mammals, reptiles and birds, as they are unable to escape the traps and quickly drown.”

If you see suspicious or illegal fishing call FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

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