Fined for illegal fishing

AN AMATEUR fisherman who had his boat seized at St Helens has pleaded guilty to fishing illegally.

Winston Kingsley Dean, 57, of Invermay, and another man were caught with 39 blue eye trevalla in December 2011.

Combined the men were allowed a catch limit of 10 trevalla.

The fish were found by Tasmania Police marine officers on Dean's boat at Burns Bay.

When interviewed by police Dean asked what he was meant to do if his 30 fish hooks on a dropline happened to catch 30 fish.

Police seized his fishing gear and his boat, with the vessel returned a short time later.

Yesterday his lawyer Alan Hensley said Dean believed the case exposed significant problems with the state's fisheries laws.

Despite having a licence for a dropline with 30 fishing hooks, Dean was limited to catching only five trevalla.

To catch these fish he had to engage in a 54-kilometre round- trip.

When Dean pulled in the 39 fish all of them were dead and he considered it wasteful to throw them back, the court heard.

Mr Hensley suggested a tag system would be better.

"There are improvements that could be made to the legislation to stop these types of offences happening," he said in the Launceston Magistrates Court yesterday.

But magistrate Reg Marron said the fisheries laws were clear and existed to prevent the depletion of fish stocks.

"There's really no room for confusion," he said.

He also questioned why Dean would attach 30 fish hooks if he was only allowed to catch five fish.

Dean was convicted and fined $2000.

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