Hidden cameras used to bust crab thieves, illegal fishing

THE fisheries department is getting savvy about busting crab thefts and illegal fishers, setting up hidden cameras to catch offenders in the act.

Crab pot interference is known as a significant problem across Queensland and this month anglers have been warned patrols are heating up.

For the first time since 2012, Gladstone has had four permanent Queensland Border Force Patrol fisheries officers keeping an eye on the behaviour of fishers in our region.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol acting district manager Geoffrey Fergusson said known high-risk areas for crab pot interference in Gladstone were the Gladstone harbour and The Narrows.

"Stealing crabs or crab pots is a criminal offence and those caught will be referred to the police," he said.

Crab pot theft is not the only offence under the spotlight - officers will police undersize and regulated fish possession.

Boaties have also been urged to stay safe on the water by the Volunteer Marine Rescue.

 

FISHING PATROLS: Gladstone fisheries officers Aaron McAdam and Sarah Horne having a friendly chat with legal boaties Carl Withington and Andrew Tyler during the Christmas holiday blitz.
FISHING PATROLS: Gladstone fisheries officers Aaron McAdam and Sarah Horne having a friendly chat with legal boaties Carl Withington and Andrew Tyler during the Christmas holiday blitz. Mike Richards GLA211217FISH

If you do head out on the water on Christmas Day in Gladstone, you're likely to hear the voice of Jim Purcell on the other end of the radio when you log on and off.

The Volunteer Marine Rescue member of 42 years urged anglers and boaties to carry their safety requirements and check the weather forecast.

"On Christmas Day we usually get a few boats out, some heading over to South End (Curtis Island) to pick up family but it's pretty quiet," he said.

If you venture offshore, Mr Purell said make sure your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) registration was up to date.

VMR: VMR Gladstone and Round Hill areVHF 82 and Fitzroy VHF 81.



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