Plea to prosecute crab pot thieves

A GLADSTONE professional crabber has called on local fishing authorities to start catching and prosecuting people who steal mud crabs.

Professional Gladstone crabber Bob Appo said the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, formerly known as the Department of Primary Industry, needed to police Gladstone waters more often.

“We need people prosecuted and for the courts to hand out heavy penalties for stealing crabs,” Mr Appo said.

“We only see the fish inspectors or the water police at the boat ramps and you’re not going to catch anyone at the boat ramp.

“The inspectors come through the week when everyone’s at home when they should be out on the weekend when people are out on the water,” he said.

Mr Appo said he had pots stolen over the Easter weekend, last week and the weekend just gone by.

They have the technology via microchips that they put in the crabs to catch people stealing.

“They put a microchip in the crab and put them in a pot and wait for someone to come along and steal it.

“The inspectors then scan people’s catch and if the crabs have been stolen, the technology recognises that,” Mr Appo said.

Mr Appo said it happened along the entire northern coast and the problem was huge.

“You talk to people at the boat ramps and whether they are amateur or professionals everyone is getting their pots stolen or raided,” he said.

“I actually feel sorry for the amateurs because even though I get it done, they’re getting it done too. It’s not just the professionals but weekenders too.”

Mr Appo has been crabbing in Gladstone for over 34 years.

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