Man found with freezer full of illegally-caught fish

A 74-YEAR-OLD man was fined $13,000 after being found with a freezer full of illegally-caught fish and about 20 commercial fishing nets in his backyard and shed.

Russell Weston Miller, from Howard, pleaded guilty to possessing commercial fishing equipment and two counts of possessing regulated fish.

The court heard officers from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries were tipped off that the former commercial fisher had nets and fish stored on his property.

When they arrived in June last year, the officers found the nets strung up in the backyard and stored in the shed.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries field officer Ashley Meekings said in the shed the officers found a custom- built fibreglass freezer.

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Fishing nets were found

He said the freezer contained 79kg of barramundi, 55kg of mullet and 15 trumpeter whiting.

"He said he had been a commercial fisherman and had been using the central lines to sell to buy back his house after a divorce," Mr Meekings said.

The court heard Miller had also been selling fish caught in his commercial vessel to people he knew.

The fish and nets were seized.

Miller, who represented himself in court, said a lot of the nets found were left over from his days as a commercial fisherman.

"Just prior to that I gave a piece of net to someone in Burrum Heads," he said.

Magistrate Graham Hillan said the charges were quite serious due to the number Miller had in his possession.

"You had a number of nets and fish well above what is normally found," he said.

Miller was fined $13000.