Authorities called to crack down on crab pot raiders

A FRUSTRATED red claw catcher has called on authorities to crack down on pot raiders at Borumba Dam.

John McAllister said persistent red claw thefts had increased to up to four times a week of late and something needed to be done to deter the offenders.

"It's happening here nearly every night of the week," he said. "When we secure the pot with zip ties, they just use a knife to cut open the pot and steal the red claw."

Two recreational fishers were fined more than $2000 for interfering with commercial crab pots in Moreton Bay recently and Mr McAllister said fishing inspectors confiscated a boat, trailer and vehicle from people caught stealing from pots at Bjelke-Petersen Dam.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol acting district officer Chris Watts said crab pot interference and other illegal practices were major compliance issues for the patrol.

"People who suspect illegal crabbing are urged to do the right thing and report it to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116," he said.

Mr McAllister said the problem of stolen red claw and damaged traps had been going on for years and had almost reached epidemic proportions.

He said other red claw catchers like him were sick of returning to their pots expecting a nice feed, only to find them missing, slashed or empty and tossed aside.

The increase in pot thefts has spoiled their recreational activity and, frustrated by the constant disappointment, they have called for authorities to identify ways to target habitual thieves and limit opportunistic thefts.

Under the current legislation, the maximum penalty for interfering with a fishing apparatus and fisheries product is $55,000.

Mr Watts said the two men caught raiding crab pots in Moreton Bay were fined $1100 each after the owner, a commercial crabber from Cabbage Tree Point, witnessed them in action and reported the offending boat's rego to Redland Bay Water Police.

AT A GLANCE

  • The maximum penalty for interfering with a fishing apparatus is $55,000
  • Two men caught raiding crab pots in Moreton Bay were fined $1100 each
  • Red claw pot raiders are striking up to four nights a week at Borumba Dam
Gympie Times


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