A Brisbane seafood wholesaler has been fined more than $24,000 for aiding two recreational fishers to sell Spanish mackerel, yellowfin tuna and wahoo without a licence.
Fisheries Queensland presented video evidence to the Brisbane Magistrates Court showing the business owner receiving fish in exchange for cash payments.
The court also fined the two recreational fishers $4226 in total plus costs and placed them on good behaviour orders of 18 months and two years. The wholesaler was ordered to pay investigation and court costs.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the offending would have constituted trafficking in a priority fish under the Queensland Government’s tough new fisheries laws.
“Recent amendments to Fisheries legislation have provided greater protection and harsher penalties to species of high commercial value, including Spanish mackerel which are now declared a priority fish for trafficking,” Mr Furner said.
“Black marketing of seafood by fishers who do not have a legitimate licence to sell fish undermines our commercial fishing industry and threatens Queensland’s reputation as a producer of high-quality seafood.”
Fisheries officers searched a Morningside seafood wholesaler in June 2019 following a complaint and seized closed circuit television footage.
Fisheries officers also executed search warrants at residential addresses at Bowen Hills and Thornlands during their investigation.
The seafood wholesaler was charged under the Fisheries Act 1994 with six counts of aiding and enabling a person to sell fisheries resources without a licence.
The two recreational fishers faced 10 charges including selling fisheries resources without an authority and possessing excess and undersized fish.
People who suspect illegal fishing activity are urged to make a report to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. Don’t engage the person, as this can compromise an investigation and public safety.