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A commercial rock lobster catcher in Western Australia’s Mid West region has been slapped with the heaviest fishing offence-related penalties in the state’s history — almost $8 million.
Geraldton-based Sam Vincent Basile repeatedly committed offences including fishing in zones he hadn’t nominated, breaching his licence, and was caught on satellite.
He has had his licence cancelled, worth $7.5 million, and will lose a further $302,000 in fines and court costs.
Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley said the sentence came after a three-year investigation and he hoped it would send a message to the industry “that we won’t take cheats lightly”.
“The natural resource of Western Australia … is the property of Western Australia,” Mr Tinley told reporters on Wednesday.
“The McGowan government won’t countenance crooks and cheats who want to steal off the people.”