Cunning Gold Coast crab thief fined $35,000

A RECREATIONAL crabber has been fined more than $35,000 and had his vessel, outboard motor and trailer seized, following an extensive surveillance operation on the Gold Coast.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) Field Officer David Kahler said during a month long surveillance operation conducted earlier this year, a recreational crabber was intercepted and found in possession of a large amount of crabs and no crab pots.

“A search warrant of his residence was executed and the crabber was found in possession of 111 regulated crabs – 64 of these female,” Mr Kahler said.


“The defendant was fined $25,000 for possessing regulated crabs and interfering with commercial crabbing apparatus at the Gold Coast.

“The commercial crabber whose pots had been interfered with over the period had suffered a substantial loss of income and therefore the court ordered restitution of $10,300.


“Interference with commercial crab pots is a significant problem statewide and the heavy penalties handed down by the Southport Magistrates Court on Friday reflect this.

“It sends a strong message to anyone on the water thinking of interfering with other people’s crab pots, or taking or possessing regulated crabs.

“QBFP will continue to monitor the waters during the Christmas and holiday period, and will target crab pot interference.”

Anyone who witnesses any suspected illegal fishing activities is encouraged to report to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.


In Queensland, female mud crabs are no take species while male mud crabs have a size limit of 15 cm across the carapace, with a possession limit of 10 and a maximum of 4 crab pots per person for recreational fishers.

It is also illegal to interfere with another persons’ crab apparatus.

For more information on Queensland crabbing rules, visit, call 13 25 23 or download the free ‘Qld Fishing’ app from Apple and Google app stores.