Hervey Bay Magistrates Court was told Robert John Clarey claimed he had mistaken his catch of barred javelin, which has to be at least 40cm long to be legal under Queensland law, for silver javelin, which can be kept from 30cm in length.
Hervey Bay Magistrates Court was told Robert John Clarey claimed he had mistaken his catch of barred javelin, which has to be at least 40cm long to be legal under Queensland law, for silver javelin, which can be kept from 30cm in length.

$2500+ fine for fisherman who kept undersized fish

A COMMERCIAL fisherman, who landed in court for keeping undersized fish, claims it was a genuine mistake.

Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday was told Robert John Clarey claimed he had mistaken his catch of barred javelin, which has to be at least 40cm long to be legal under Queensland law, for silver javelin, which can be kept from 30cm in length.

The Booral man entered a guilty plea.

The court was told on November 23, 2017, the Department of Fisheries patrol officers investigated the contents of an esky aboard his commercial fishing vessel while it was docked at Point Vernon. 

The esky included 67 barred javelin, of which 49 were undersized.

To show that Clarey had genuinely thought he had caught silver javelin, defence lawyer Chris Thompson said his client had thrown catches under 30cm back in the water in a bid to comply with regulations.

When Magistrate Stephen Guttridge questioned how a commercial fisherman could mistake the fish he caught, Mr Thompson explained the two species look similar and said Clarey plans to not keep anything under 40cm "whatsoever" in the future, just to be on the safe side.

Clarey was fined $2500 plus ordered to pay court fees. No conviction was recorded.