WA rock lobster warning after boats seized

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Australian Associated Press

Seven boats have been seized due to lobster pot interference and other rock lobster crimes in Western Australia this season, prompting a warning that offenders could face prison or a large fine.

Fisheries minister Joe Francis said people who interfered with other fishers’ rock lobster pots could have their boats seized and in the most serious cases of illegal fishing a person could be jailed for four years or fined $400,000.

“Pulling rock lobster pots that aren’t yours and stealing the catch is a low act. It’s theft, and it’s un-Australian,” Mr Francis said.

“Fisheries officers are out there watching day and night; it’s just not worth doing the wrong thing.”

Hundreds of thousands of recreational fishers who did the right thing were reaping the benefits of their licence fees, which were reinvested into initiatives such as the $853,000 artificial reef off Rottnest Island, Mr Francis said.

The reef, six nautical miles south of the island, is due to be completed next week and has two 12 metre-high steel modules designed to attract species such as pink snapper and yellowtail kingfish.

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