Costly catch for uni student illegally fishing crays

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Liam BeattyMidwest Times
Geraldton Courthouse.
Camera IconGeraldton Courthouse. Credit: Anita Kirkbright / The Geraldton Guardian

A 22-year-old university student has had an expensive day in court after he was caught illegally catching crayfish at a popular camping spot near Dongara.

Jacob Van Den Broek was camping with friends at 7-mile beach on November 11, when a uniformed fisheries inspector approached him on the beach.

In a blue carry bag the young man was holding, prosecutor Rodd Campbell said the inspector found 14 undersized western rock lobsters.

He said Broek had also exceeded the daily catch limit of 12, failed to tail clip the lobsters and did not hold a recreational fishing licence.

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“However I must add the inspector noted the accused was remorseful and fully cooperated with the investigation,” he said.

Broek’s lawyer, Joanne Graham, told the court her client was unaware he was breaking the law at the time and was unlikely to offend again.

“Effectively that day his actions were spontaneous, they were camping and the opportunity presented itself,” she said.

He was granted a spent conviction by Magistrate Chris Miocevich after Ms Graham argued it may impact his future job prospects.

“These laws are in place for a reason,” he said. “They are there to protect the sustainability of the western rock lobster fishery. Although I’ve kept the fines to a minimum it’s an expensive day in court for you.”

He was fined $750, ordered to pay mandatory penalties totalling $1954 and court costs of $248.70.

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