A skipper has had to hand over his boat after he and his fishing buddies illegally took a haul of sea cucumbers from around Bribie Island.
A skipper has had to hand over his boat after he and his fishing buddies illegally took a haul of sea cucumbers from around Bribie Island.

Skipper made to hand in his boat over illegal catch

A skipper has had to hand over his boat after he and his fishing buddies illegally took a haul of sea cucumbers from around Bribie Island.

The man was one of four who went out in a fishing boat last May before being routinely inspected by fisheries officers on their return to the Sylvan Beach boat ramp.

The skipper twice told Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers the boat was empty but a search found 97 sea cucumbers, two molluscs, five undersized crabs and one undersized snapper.

A fisherman has had his boat seized over an illegal haul of sea cucumbers
A fisherman has had his boat seized over an illegal haul of sea cucumbers

Fisheries officers executed a search warrant at the skipper's home the next day, finding another 51 sea cucumbers taken from Pumicestone Passage, five undersized fish and eight fish in excess of possession limits - including a shovelnose ray.

The skipper was charged with 10 offences under the Fisheries Act and his three mates each faced one charge.

They all pleaded guilty in the Caboolture Magistrates Court.

The Magistrate ordered the skipper's boat be seized by authorities and fined the other three men $2000 each.

A fisherman has had his boat seized over an illegal haul of sea cucumbers
A fisherman has had his boat seized over an illegal haul of sea cucumbers

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said it was a "significant level of offending" that would have impacted the ecological sustainability of fish resources.

"Sea cucumbers are a priority fish species which cannot be taken or possessed by recreational fishers when taken from Queensland's sea cucumber regulated waters, with a closure in place from Bowen south," he said.

If people suspect illegal fishing activity, they should report it to the 24 hour toll-free Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.

Originally published as Skipper made to hand in his boat over illegal catch