Fisher cops $14k fine for huge bug haul
A FAR North Queensland commercial trawler has been fined $14,000 for illegally hauling over 700 Moreton Bay bugs.
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers inspected the trawler in Cooktown in April 2018.
"A search of the boat found a total of 704 Moreton Bay bug tails, two undersized Moreton Bay bugs and one undersize Moreton Bay bug head," she said.
"The size limit for Moreton Bay bugs is 7.5cm across the widest part of the carapace.
"Disregarding seafood size limits for commercial gain has a serious impact on an important community resource.
"The trawler operator was also found guilty of not keeping an accurate logbook.
"Commercial fishers should understand the conditions of their licence including logbook maintenance."
Moreton Bay bugs are a species of lobster popular for their use in cooking.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has a limit in place on the number of vessels allowed to fish for them each season and requires commercial fishers to log their catches.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said black market fishing activities won't be tolerated in Queensland.
"The Palaszczuk Government's reforms to fisheries management protect jobs and the sustainability of Queensland's fishing areas," he said.
"Anyone found guilty of black marketing or trafficking in fish can now be fined up to $400,000 and face three years in jail.
"The message is clear - there is no place for Queensland-caught fish on the black market."
Ms Lui said total fines for fisheries offences in Northern Queensland over the past year were more than $218,000.
"While most fishers do the right thing, there are still too many illegal fishing cases coming before the courts," she said.
"Our state's fisheries belong to all Queenslanders and it's our job to protect fish for the future.
"That's why we are working so hard to ensure fish stocks will be sustainable for generations to come."