Crab thief cops fine and costs



A 45-year-old former Yamba man has been fined $500 and ordered to pay $130 costs after he was found guilty of lifting and stealing crabs from a licensed commercial fisherman.

Ross Donald Martin, 45, of Yamba pilfered crabs from Charles Dunford and Mark Clare on February 5 this year.

In a statement of facts presented to Maclean Local Court, at 11am Mr Dunford and Mr Clare checked on already set crab traps in Romiaka Channel finding five crabs.

They then headed to Ungundam Island to watch the traps and just before 1pm they heard a boat approach.

Using binoculars, Mr Dunford identified Martin and another person in the front of the boat.

They watched as the pair got halfway between the second and third traps before doing a U-turn and returning to the first trap, watching as the person in the front of the boat lifted the trap.

While the trap was on board, the boat floated behind mangroves but a short time later reappeared and Martin was seen to throw the trap back into the water.

It was the same for the other two traps before the boat sped away.

Mr Dunford and Mr Clare checked the traps and found three crabs had been stolen.

They drove to the Grafton Anglers Club boat ramp on Yamba Road and confronted Martin, who arrived about an hour later. He was said to have spoken to Mr Dunford 'in an aggressive manner', denying he had lifted the traps.

The following day the pair contacted NSW Fisheries and on February 8 lodged an official complaint.

Martin pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawful use of a net or trap and one charge of interfering with set fishing gear, after being caught lifting crab traps belonging to a licensed commercial fisher.



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