Fishy haul blamed on divorce
THE elderly dad of two Tannum Sands fishermen busted and fined over illegal fish and crab catches has himself been hooked and fined $13,000.
Hervey Bay Magistrates Court this month heard Russell Weston Miller, 74, a granddad from Howard on the Fraser Coast, blamed his marriage bust up and divorce for his fishing offences.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) describe Miller and his convicted sons as being a family syndicate intent on profiting from unlawful activities.
Miller pleaded guilty to six charges of having commercial fishing nets; and excess and regulated fish.
In a tip off Fisheries officers found a freezer full of illegally caught fish, the nets strung up in the backyard.
The freezer held 79kg of barramundi, 55kg of mullet, and 15 trumpeter whiting.
Miller was selling fish to people he knew.
Fisheries field officer Ashley Meekings said officers found "a custom-built fibreglass freezer" in his shed.
"He said he had been a commercial fisherman and been using the central lines to buy back his house after a divorce," Mr Meekings said.
Magistrate Graham Hillan said the offences were serious due to the number of fish and nets he had.
Rodney Weston Miller, 51, (Miller's son) was fined $7,500 in February after being caught with the remains of female crabs in his freezer.
Rodney pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of regulated fish, 17 female crabs in June last year; and failing to comply with regulated fishing apparatus.
In January his brother Ray Weston Miller, 51, was fined.
"This is the culmination of a QBFP operation target a family syndicate of recreational fishers intent on profiting from unlawful activities," manager Greg Bowness said.
"Officers executed search warrants on three residential properties in Tannum Sands and Howard in June last year, seizing 23 commercial fishing nets, 30 female mud crabs, 3 regulated mud crabs and 201 excess fish."