Sailfish hauled onto ships
Pilbara Echo have received photos of sailfish and other pelagic species being hauled onto large overseas ships off Dampier.
Many local anglers are disappointed by the lack of monitoring of these ships.
By law every fisherman is required to have a current WA Fishing License, stick to bag and size limits, put back any protected species and encouraged to fish for the future.
Locals are hopeful that these rules apply to all International Foreign Ships entering our waters.
When one Damiper local, who would like to remain anonymous, reported this to a Fisheries officer at the Dampier boat ramp last year, he told the local that there wasn’t much they could do about it and ‘didn’t seem interested’.
“Many other locals in Dampier have said they have had the same comment when
they have reported fishing on these ships,” they said.
“Obviously nothing was done, as 12 months later it is still happening and a lot more ships fishing.
“No-one has ever seen the Fisheries or Customs near these ships to monitor them.”
The local told Pilbara Echo that many local anglers have witnessed the Iron Ore ships in Dampier fishing, while anchored to come into Dampier Port and they are angry nothing has been done about it for such a long time.
“Up to 20 ships are anchored for days and many of us have witnessed and some even taken photos and reported them illegally pulling in sailfish and many undersized fish to Fisheries and nothing seems to be been done about it,” they said.
“We have never seen or heard that Fisheries are out there to monitor their bag limits, undersized fish or protected species.
“This is also happening in Point Samson and Port Hedland and probably Broome too.” One photo taken last week, shows a ship pulling in a pelagic fish.
It was reported that the ship had seven fishing lines in the water and about 10 or more crew leaning over the rails fishing.
“One guy was pulling in about four to six bait fish on one line,” the local said.
Recfishwest CEO Andrew Rowland said that Recfishwest does not believe that any fishing should be allowed from a commercially registered vessel unless it is a designated fishing boat.
“We urge the Government to take a coordinated approach to educating those on foreign vessels about local customs, rules and law,” he said.
“These large pelagic species hold a special place in the hearts of many local recreational fishers who take specific measures to ensure the survival of fish that are released.
“We are concerned that the cumulative impacts of fishing activities from these vessels will be detrimental to local fish stocks.”
Minister of Fisheries Norman Moore said that people fishing off overseas ships are required to hold a Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence and abide by the Recreational Fishing rules
“The Fisheries Department has advised that it recently received a report of persons fishing from an international ship off Dampier,” he said.
“The Northern Region Community Education Officer has worked with Shipping Agents and Resource Companies in the Pilbara to inform them about Fisheries rules and provided sustainability messages (in electronic form) for crews of foreign vessels and employees and contractors, which includes vessels, of Resources Companies in the Pilbara.
“The recently received report is the only formal report the department has had.
“Fisheries and Marine Officers in Karratha have had discussions with various members of the community at the office and in the field about this issue.”
No Recreational Fishing from Boat Licence equals a $100 infringement notice or penalty of up to $2000, if prosecuted before the courts.
Bag or size limit offences equal up to $400 infringement notices or penalties of up to $5000, plus an additional mandatory penalty of 10 times the prescribed value of the fish subject to the offence, if prosecuted before the courts.
Anyone that witnesses any overseas ships fishing off the WA coast, needs to report it by calling Fish Watch on 1800 815 507.
“The more reported fishing from overseas ships will put them (Fisheries and Customs) under more pressure to protect our fish,” the local said.