FISHERIES Queensland has used DNA testing to confirm a large haul of female mud crabs seized at the Sydney Fish Markets was illegally taken from Queensland waters.
Adam Alexander Daly, the Turkey Beach fisher who took the crabs, was fined $35,000 in the Gladstone Magistrates Court.
He pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful possession of regulated fish after taking 232 female mud crabs and attempting to sell them across the border in New South Wales.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol investigator Deryk Smith said the cross-border operation served as a warning that female mud crabs were off limits in Queensland waters.
"The crabs were seized after we received a tip off from an industry contact," he said.
"Alerted by staff at the Sydney Fish Markets, New South Wales fisheries patrol officers inspected and seized 13 boxes of female mud crabs allegedly sent from Queensland.
"DNA testing organised by QBFP confirmed the mud crabs had in fact come from Queensland waters, and our investigation revealed they'd been air freighted south of the border.
"The suspect later confirmed he had taken the crabs from the Turkey Beach area before freighting them south. This was his third offence of this nature."
Mr Smith said it was extremely important for all fishers to check the state rules before crabbing and act responsibly.
"Fishing rules and regulations can be different across state borders, but individuals are responsible for knowing the rules and sticking to them. If caught doing the wrong thing they will be fined," he said.
"Although female mud crabs can be lawfully possessed and sold in New South Wales, they have been protected in Queensland since 1914.
"Being a responsible crabber means using the right number of pots or dillies, marking them correctly, and being able to identify males from females.
"Every crabber should have a crab gauge to measure male crabs to ensure they are legal size, and release any female or undersize crabs immediately to the water.
"These restrictions are essential to ensuring the sustainability of the species, which is vulnerable to overfishing given its iconic status in Queensland."
Mr Smith said the prosecution would not have been possible without the assistance of the New South Wales Fisheries Patrol and staff at the Sydney Fish Markets.
"Queensland and New South Wales Fisheries officers work collaboratively across the states to ensure effective monitoring of all areas," he said.
"With significant areas to patrol on both sides of the border, authorities rely heavily on the assistance of the community to protect our fishing resources."
Information on illegal fishing in Queensland should be reported to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116 and in New South Wales to the Fisher's Watch Phone Line on 1800 043 536.
For more information on Queensland fishing rules go to fisheries.qld.gov.au or find out more about New South Wales fishing rules at fisheries.nsw.gov.au.