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Crabs claw a greedy fisher

FISHERMAN’S GREED: Boyne Island fisherman Ray Miller leaves Gladstone Courthouse.
FISHERMAN’S GREED: Boyne Island fisherman Ray Miller leaves Gladstone Courthouse. Ross Irby

A FISHERMAN'S greed landed him a whopping $8000 fine after being caught red handed in his tinnie with illegal female crabs, and a home freezer packed with too many fish.

Recreational fisher Ray Weston Miller told Fisheries inspectors he was going to eat the crabs at Christmas.

Miller, 51, pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to unlawfully taking regulated fish, 12 female mud crabs near Toolooa on December 21, 2014; taking one male crab more than the legally allowed 10; and using eight crab pots to catch 23 mud crabs. Miller also pleaded guilty to having in his possession on June 19, 2015 at Boyne Island (contrary to the Fisheries Act) eight female mud crabs; and possession of 10 sea mullets more than the regulated number of 20.

The sea mullets and female crab shells were found in his freezer by Fisheries officers in an early morning raid at his Boyne Island home.

Magistrate Penelope Hay told Miller that as a recreational fisher he was obliged to abide by the rules.

"The regulations ensure the marine creatures are here to enjoy into the future, to protect the creatures so we can all enjoy recreational fishing and seafood produce," she said.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries prosecutor Dereyk Smith said Fisheries inspectors stopped Miller's boat near Toolooa and found 11 male crabs in a bin.

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Miller denied having more but a search discovered 12 female crabs tied and concealed in his tinnie's bow.

Mr Smith said when inspectors went to Miller's home last June he and his wife's freezer was searched in the presence of his wife, with 100 sea mullet fillets (50 fish) and eight female mud crab shells found.

Miller told them he caught the mullet in the Boyne River the previous weekend fishing with his brother.

The legal limit is 20 fish per person (40 fillets), so the 50 fish in the couple's freezer was 10 more than they were allowed.

Miller pleaded for a lesser penalty, saying he had lost his job and was financially struggling after being laid off, had to sell an investment property and sold his boat.

Ms Hay noted his personal circumstances and lack of prior offences, saying she would reduce the fine from $10,000 to $8,000.

She also took into account Miller had tried to "conceal" the illegal female crabs found in his boat, and his reoffending just six months after the first offences was an aggravating feature.

Topics:  crime, fishing, gladstond region, gladstone, gladstone magistrate court, greedy



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