Angler fined $30k in crackdown on black market fishing

A RECREATIONAL fisher has been fined $30,000 in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court for fishing during the coral reef fin fish closure and for exceeding possession limits.

The matter was heard on Monday despite fisher Richard Kaddour failing to appear.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district manager Greg Bowness said the heavy fine reflected the serious nature of the offences.

"The fisher was caught in the early hours of the morning at Round Hill Creek, Town of 1770, with commercial quantities of fish believed to be intended to be sold on the black market," he said.

The fisher was found in possession of 116 coral reef fin fish during the closed season, six skinless fillets, 93 coral reef fin fish in excess of the combined possession limit of 20, three sharks in excess of the possession limit of one, 33 pearl perch in excess of the possession limit of five and two Samson fish in excess of the possession limit of two.

"In addition, nine of these fish were undersized," Mr Bowness said.

"The fisher was charged $17,500 for three offences related to fishing during the closed season, possessing skinned fillets and possessing fish not complying with size and possession limits.

"An additional penalty of $12,500 (five times the commercial value of the catch) was also imposed, plus court costs."

He said the conviction was the result of an extensive investigation into suspected black market fishing activities in the Seventeen Seventy-Agnes Waters area.

"Fisheries officers from Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, as well as the Surveillance and Investigation Unit worked together to execute the operation," he said.

"Black marketing undermines the viability of commercial fishing, deters job creating investment in commercial fishing, and impacts on the competitiveness of legitimate seafood processors and marketers."

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