Friday, June 21, 2024

WA operation nets out-of-season fishers

Almost 300 illegally caught marron have been seized and up to 13 people are facing prosecution after a Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) operation targeting out-of-season marron fishing in WA’s South West.

The fine for out-of-season fishing for marron can be up to $5,000 plus an additional mandatory penalty of $50 for each illegally obtained marron.

Marron is a freshwater crayfish species that is only found in Western Australia and the open season for recreational marron fishing this year runs for four weeks from 12 noon on 8 January to 12 noon on 5 February.

Fishing for, including setting marron fishing gear, outside the season is prohibited. Transporting marron outside of the season can only occur if there’s an accompanying valid receipt for the marron from a licenced commercial aquaculture facility.

DPIRD’s compliance operation ran over three nights in December and the offenders were apprehended by Fisheries and Marine Officers at locations near Collie and Harvey.

The fishers involved in catching or being in possession of marron out of season included a man and a woman from Collie, two men from the southern Perth suburb of Seville Grove, four men from the northern Perth suburb of Koondoola, four men from Narrogin and one man from Beverley.

DPIRD Director Regional Compliance South, Noel Chambers said the rules were in place to help protect vulnerable breeding populations so the WA community would have marron to fish for in the future.

“Marron is a highly prized freshwater delicacy; however, its habitat is under threat, and it is important that fishers abide by the current management arrangements to ensure the survival of this endemic species,” he said.

“If you’re aware of anyone who may be fishing out of season for marron, call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 and pass on what you know to the operator, or lodge your report through the online form on Crimestoppers so that Fisheries Officers can investigate.

“Apart from our year-round fisheries compliance patrols, we also depend on community assistance and cooperation with WA Police and water authorities to ensure the marron fishery can be managed in sustainable way.”

The 2024 Marron Recreational fishing guide is a vital reference guide for fishers, who must have a valid licence to take part in the season.

Drinking water catchments are not open to recreational marron fishing and there are some rivers that are off limits. Find out more in the Closed Waters section of the latest guide.

Fisheries Officers from DPIRD are continuing to monitor marron fishing spots for illegal activity out of season.

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