Man who stole from crab pots fined $109,000
A BOONOOROO fisherman was slapped with nearly $110,000 in fines after keeping undersize catches and stealing from crab pots.
Brian Daniel Levinge, 43, pleaded guilty to 24 charges, which included numerous counts of unlawful possession of regulated fish at the Maryborough Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
Noel Riley, from the Queensland Department of Fisheries, told the court fisheries officers went to Levinge's home on March 6, 2013, where they found 31 undersize mud crabs, 200 female mud crab claws, 371 mud crab halves and three female mud crabs.
Mr Riley said there was a second incident on November 29, when fisheries officers patrolling waters opposite Fraser Island observed Levinge in a white commercial vessel and found about 27 undersize fish on board.
He then told the court about a third instance involving stealing from crab pots.
After complaints from commercial fishermen, fisheries officers set marked pots and filmed Levinge removing them.
Levinge's lawyer said her client was a father of two teenagers and a third-generation fisherman.
"I'm informed last year things got really tough for him," she said.
The lawyer told the court Levinge was only making $17,000 and suffered further financial loss from his boat being impounded.
Magistrate John Smith forfeited the man's commercial fishing licence for 12 months and recorded each of the 24 convictions.
Mr Smith fined Levinge $38,500 for the first offences, $38,500 for the second and $32,500 for the third offences.
Levinge was also ordered to pay $243.30 in court costs.