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WA fisherman loses licence for dishonesty

AAP logoAAP 27/10/2016

A commercial fisherman who acted dishonestly by tampering with four rock lobster pots in Western Australia will have his licence suspended for eight months.

Daniel Christian Pentreath pleaded guilty in Joondalup Magistrates Court last year to interfering with the pots without the owner's permission in waters off Lancelin, north of Perth, in June 2013 and was fined $4000 plus $1000 in costs.

The Fisheries Department wrote to Pentreath in November, saying both his commercial and recreational licences would be suspended for one year, but Pentreath took the case to the State Administrative Tribunal.

Justice Jeremy Curthoys said in his findings recently that while general deterrence was a significant factor, the length of the suspension of the commercial licence was excessive and reduced the term by four months.

He said there was no need to suspend Pentreath's recreational licence because his dishonest conduct did not occur while he was using that licence.

The suspension will begin in January when the new commercial quota season begins.

Fisheries north metropolitan compliance manager Todd A'Vard said on Thursday that officers were targeting rock lobster pot interference under Operation Bagana and the SAT decision was a timely reminder for all fishers.

"Most fishers, commercial and recreational, are aware of the potentially high fines and forfeitures of vessels and fishing gear as a consequence of prosecution for serious offences," he said.

"What many people don't realise is that fishing under a licence is a privilege, not a right.

"In addition to any court-imposed penalty, fishers who do not demonstrate the professional standards expected by industry or the values expected by the community face the very real prospect of losing the privilege of engaging in that licensed fishing activity."

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