'Local crabbers are stealing pots and it's got to stop'

CRABBING expert and guide Johnny Mitchell wants crabbers in Gladstone to have more respect and get smarter about their hobby.

"Local crabbers are stealing crabs and pots and that's gotta stop," he said.

"It is stupid to say people are flying in, stealing our crabs and then flying home."

He said the problem was local and so change had to start among mates.

"If you see your mate stealing pots or crabs say something," he said.

"It's not going to stop if change doesn't happen within the community first."

Crabbers had to learn how to cut risks of getting their gear and catch stolen.

"By using rope and floats that are green, you can hide the pots better."

He said knowing when to put your pots out means you might only need to leave them for 30 minutes.

"Obviously the longer they are out, the greater chance they'll be robbed," he said.

All illegal fishing activities, including crab pot theft or interference, can be reported to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.

Fisheries Queensland suggests if your pot is interfered with, take a photo or video of the incident.

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)


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