Business

Crabbers feel the pinch as poachers hit harder

ANGRY ANGLERS: Johnny Mitchell and Lindsay Wassell have had their crab pots raided.
ANGRY ANGLERS: Johnny Mitchell and Lindsay Wassell have had their crab pots raided. Mike Richards

EXPERIENCED anglers are adopting alternative ways to catch mud crabs in a bid to prevent their crabs and crab pots from being pilfered.

Johnny Mitchell, a professional fishing guide for 35 years, said that the battle against crab-pot poachers was an "ongoing war".

Mr Mitchell refuses to leave his crab pots unattended, opting instead to remove them from the water when he leaves an area.

"Some of the worst cases are when you lose the whole crab pot," he said.

"You might put four in and then the whole four are gone when you pick them up.

"It's about respecting other water users and human beings in general.

"The fact is that plenty of other people know it's going on and know who is doing it but they are reluctant to pull up their friend and say that's not right."

Lindsay Wassell is another who has fallen foul of the thieves.

"I left them in overnight about 18 months ago and the next day two were gone and the other two were thrown in mangroves," he said.

"That was the first time I'd done that (left them unattended) in a long time and I won't be doing it again."

Mr Wassell, who has fished recreationally in the region for 30 years, said it was frustrating that other crabbers would steal from another angler's crab pots.

"It's just the fact that you pay the registration for the boat, you go to the trouble of putting it in and someone else is getting those crabs for nothing," he said.

"They probably have their own crab pots, they're being thoughtless and greedy."

Feeling crabby

Signs your crabs have been stolen:

  • The door of the pot is open.
  • No bait left, or the bait has been destroyed, and no crabs
  • If the crab pot is not in the same spot as where it was set

The rules:

  • Four crab pots per person
  • People can only take male crabs over 15cm across the shell and can only take four crabs
  • Crab pots must be marked by an identifying tag with surname and address of the owner
  • If the crab pot is not attached to a tree or high water mark, it must have a surface float with the owner's name clearly marked

The fines:

  • Interfering with crabbing apparatus: $1138-$56,925
  • Unmarked and sunken pots: $227-$34,155
  • Possession of an undersized crab: $227
  • Possession of a female crab: $455

(Offenders will be referred to police for prosecution)

Topics:  anglers, fishing, mud crabs, poaching




UPDATE: 25-year-old man dies in Benaraby collision, video:

Fatal motorbike accident at Benaraby.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

Its been confirmed the man who died at the scene of the crash was 25

LETTER: Can’t keep up with in and out phone service, Boyne Valley resident says

FED UP: Boyne Valley residents want answers about the poor phone service. But mostly they want action.

"God help us in another 10 years" Valley resident fed up

UPDATE: Family Pit Bull mysteriously reappears after reported stolen

Kirrily Southall's pet dog stolen from her between hours of Friday night and early Saturday morning. Inset, one of the bones found in her Calliope backyard.

SHE didn't give her dogs bones, so who did? And where is Loki?

Latest deals and offers

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

Indigenous artist shows tourists secrets of Aboriginal painting

Ever thought "I could do that" about Aboriginal art?

Dynamic pics from Splendour Day 1

The Strokes perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Check out the latest pictures from Splendour in the Grass.

Bindi Irwin: 18 magic photos to mark her 18th birthday

Bindi Irwin with a python.

Photos: Bindi Irwin from babyhood to 18

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles