Two Perth men have received a record fine for marron poaching at Harvey Dam, in Western Australia’s South West, after fisheries officers found hundreds of the crayfish stuffed into a Ford Fiesta in an early morning sting. 

Key points:

  • Two men have been banned from freshwater dams for two years for marron poaching 
  • Authorities say the near $100,000 combined fine is the biggest handed down for illegal marroning 
  • The marron season runs from January 8 to February 5

Fishing authorities say the fines and penalties, totalling $97,731, are the biggest for illegal marron fishing handed down in WA. 

The men have also been banned from being within 200 metres of any freshwater dam in Western Australia for two years.

In the Harvey Magistrate’s Court yesterday, a 49-year-old Aveley man was fined a total of $41,140 after pleading guilty to five charges relating to illegal marron fishing.

His co-accused, a 51-year-old Stratton man, pleaded guilty to seven charges and was fined a total of $55,640

The court also ordered the Ford Fiesta be forfeited.

Two people, one with a jacket with fisheries on it, looking at wheelbarrow full of marron

DPIRD compliance officers processing some of the seized marron from Harvey Dam(Supplied: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development)

Early morning sting

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Russell Adams said fisheries officers caught the men in the early hours of December 20, 2019, after watching them overnight at Harvey Dam.

A station wagon with its boot open, with seven hessian sacks in front of it

Fisheries officers say they found seven sacks of marron and fishing gear.(Supplied: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development)

He said the haul of 418 illegally caught marron and the penalty imposed were significant.

Mr Adams said 259 of the seized marron were undersize, at less than 90 millimetres.

He said said the men were fishing out of the strict four-week season at the dam, when fishers are allowed to catch five full-sized marron a day. 

“The penalties are a very good deterrent.” 

Recreational fishers welcome penalty

WA’s recreational fishing body Recfishwest’s CEO, Andrew Rowland, said he was pleased the matter had been resolved.

“Marron are an icon of our South West, and essentially these sort of activities are simply stealing the community’s fish,” Dr Rowland said. 

“It’s a publicly owned resource, the community care deeply about it … it’s a delicacy. 

Dr Rowland said the four-week season was vital to the sustainability of the resource.

WA’s recreational fishing season runs from 12:00pm January 8, to 12:00pm February 5. 

Record fine after more than 400 crayfish ‘delicacies’ seized in major illegal fishing sting
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