Illegal marron fishers busted in the Moore River

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Some of the gear and marron seized in the bust along the Moore River. Picture: DPIRD

LAST month Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development compliance officers conducted a joint operation with Lancelin Police to apprehend people fishing for marron in the Moore River.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) said the bust on February 26 came three weeks after the 2023 marron season had closed.

A DPIRD spokesman said officers were continuing investigations into the extent of the illegal fishing uncovered along the Moore River.

The fishers were busted with more than 30 pieces of fishing gear and were fishing out of season, which makes any marron fishing activity illegal.

DPIRD said Western Australia’s recreational marron fishery was fragile due to the limited area and population for the freshwater crayfish species.

The use of traps and other illegal gear as well as fishing outside the season required round the year monitoring by DPIRD compliance officers.

Find out more about the limited season that applies in the Marron recreational fishing guide.

During the designated marron season, the only legal methods for taking marron in the Moore River are by a scoop net, drop nets or a snare but only one method can be used at a time.

One wire basket crab scoop may be used per licensed fisher, but any wire baskets require a maximum of six vertical wires and a maximum of 75 individual rectangles.

Up to six drop nets per licensed fisher may be used and those nets must have a rigid marron mesh base (mesh dimension must be 32mm by 80mm or greater).

One bushman’s pole snare may be used per licensed fisher, but snares must be self-tightening only and this means there must be nothing attached to the pole to enable a person to open or close the noose.

All other fishing gear, including any type of trap, is illegal.

Fisheries and marine supervising officer Alistair Mclean said the joint patrol came across the illegal marron fishing scene around 2.30am on a Sunday morning and evidence was still being gathered by DPIRD officers on a range of suspected fishing offences.

“The marron fishery is also subject to environmental pressure, which reinforces the need for careful management and significant penalties, so offenders should expect to be prosecuted for fishing outside of the marron season and using illegal gear,’’ he said.

Anyone who suspects illegal fishing activity should call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 or report what you have seen via the online form on Crimestoppers​

It is recommended you do not approach anyone you think is involved in illegal activity involving fishing but to report your concerns.