A Grafton local court magistrate has fined two men caught with three tubs like this full of mudcrabs a total of $2200.
A Grafton local court magistrate has fined two men caught with three tubs like this full of mudcrabs a total of $2200.

Mud crabbers five times over their catch limit fined $2200

TWO MEN discovered with more than five times the legal possession limit of mudcrabs have paid a total penalty of $2200 for their offences.

Damien John Crosskell, 26 of Coutts Crossing and Billy John Clifford, 27, of Nymboida both pleaded guilty to a number of fishing offences after they were found with three crates containing 56 tied mudcrabs on the banks of the Sandon River nearly two years ago.

The court heard there was a catch limit of five mudcrabs a day for each fisher at the time of the offence.

Magistrate Karen Stafford told the pair, who fronted Grafton Local Court yesterday, there was a maximum penalty of $22,000 each for the offence.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries department took the pair to court just in time, as a two-year time limit for these offences was about to expire.

In evidence presented to the court, two fishery officers patrolling the Sandon River area came upon Clifford and Crosskell asleep in swags under a tarpaulin lean-to on the river bank.

Also under the tarpaulin were three plastic crates and 26 lengths of pink string, cut long enough to tie mud crabs.

The officers said the pair admitted owning the crustaceans in the crates and later counted 56 live and tied crabs in them.

The pair told the officers they caught the crabs using a spotlight and a cast net.

The officers allowed the pair to keep the number of crabs they were allowed and released the rest.

Despite being in possession of a commercial number of crabs, the pair maintained the crabs were for their consumption and their families.

In court yesterday Clifford said there was large number of extended family members to share the crabs among.

Magistrate Stafford said on the balance of probabilities she accepted the crabs were not going to be sold, despite the high profit that could be gained.

She convicted and fined Crosskell $800 for exceeding the possession limit and $300 each for possession of a cast net and not having a fishing licence. She fined Clifford $800 for exceeding the possession limit.

 

The lifecycle of a mud crab.
The lifecycle of a mud crab. Department of Fisheries - Wester

5 myths about The Northern Star we want to bust

5 myths about The Northern Star we want to bust

OPINION: Our journos have been covering news that matters on the Northern Rivers...

Qld opening with NSW now in doubt

Qld opening with NSW now in doubt

Queensland border: Opening with NSW in November may be in doubt

FLYING HIGH: Number of flights into Ballina set to jump

Premium Content FLYING HIGH: Number of flights into Ballina set to jump

Ballina airport is going gangbusters, with the number of flights set to increase by...