Illegal marron catchers fined

Two men have been slugged with heavy fines for taking marron out of season near Collie as part of a wider sting operation to crack down on illegal fishing in WA's Southern regions.

Paul Van Den Enden, 29, from Australind was charged with possessing 82 marron, including 18 undersize and a further 18 with eggs attached, taken out of season after fisheries officers stopped his vehicle on October 21.

Wade Justin Fowler, 41, from Collie was also caught on October 21 with 41 marron, 23 of them either undersize or with eggs attached.

Fowler pleaded guilty to two offences in the Collie Magistrates Court on Wednesday, December 13, while Van Den Enden was found guilty of two offences in his absence.

Van Den Enden was ordered to pay fines and penalties totalling $7,400 for possessing marron in a non-possession period, with a further $500 for giving a false name or address and $190.85 costs. 

Fowler was ordered to pay $2292.80 for possessing marron in a non-possession period, $1650 for marron that were undersize or had eggs attached and costs of $190.85.

Both men were nabbed under Operation Kerinci, which Fisheries WA has been running throughout the South of WA to protect stocks from out of season fishers.

Richard Petty from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development said in the the first six weeks of the operation nine people have been caught possessing marron out of season and a further two given warnings, seven people for possessing undersize or spawning marron, 11 for having illegal fishing gear and one person who gave a false name and address.

"The season is limited (from noon on January 8 to noon on February 5) because wild stocks of marron are limited and any out of season fishing therefore compromises the sustainability of this unique WA fishery," Mr Petty said.

Back in November, Fisheries officers recovered 22 marron traps from a group of 30-40 people who were planning a fishing trip at Wellington Dam.

Earlier this month, they also nabbed two fishermen leaving Harvey Dam with more than 70 out-of-season marron, 60 of which were undersize.

Two other men from the South West copped hefty fines after they were caught with more than 13 times the daily limit of marron back in July.