Illegal trading of seafood in Bundaberg a current craze

CAUGHT OUT: Unlicensed fishos are taking to social media to illegally sell off their loot.
CAUGHT OUT: Unlicensed fishos are taking to social media to illegally sell off their loot.

CRABS, crayfish and fish are all on the menu for illegal traders and Crab Watch Queensland says it's rife in the Bundaberg region.

Crab Watch founder Crabman, as he is affectionately known by his followers, said there has been an increase in reports from the Bundaberg area recently.

"It seems to be a real craze at the moment," he said.

"It may have something to do with the lack of funding, the fishery department work their butt off but with up to 150 people on the water at a time, there's only three to four officers.

"There's nowhere near the amount of resources in Bundaberg as there are in other regions."

Crabman said more often than not, a lack of education was at the root of illegal trade on classified pages.

A Fisheries Queensland spokesman said in the past 12 months, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) has investigated seven complaints about the illegal sale of seafood in the Bundaberg district.

As a result of these investigations, three people each received a Fisheries Infringement Notice caution and one person received a Fisheries Infringement Notice fine.

"In Queensland, taking fisheries resources, including fish and crabs, for sale is prohibited, unless you are a licensed commercial fisher," the spokesman said.

"Under the Fisheries Act 1994, offering fisheries resources for sale also constitutes selling fisheries resources. Trading fish in exchange for something else is also considered as selling fisheries resources.

"The penalties for selling fisheries resources without a licence range from a Fisheries Infringement Notice of $1261 to a maximum penalty of $110,000."

Crabman said all reports to Crab Watch of illegal trade are passed on to the Fisheries Department.

The Fisheries spokesman said you are able to sell fisheries resources if you are a licensed commercial fisher, purchased it from a licensed commercial fisher or have purchased it from a wholesaler who has purchased it from a licensed commercial fisher.

If you suspect illegal fishing activity, report it to the department by phoning 1800 017 116.

Topics:  bundaberg crabs crabwatch crab watch crayfish crime fish fisheries department illegal trade news seafood

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