Bundamba man Umesh Chand, 53, was fined $8000 and his son Vinal Vikesh Chand, 26, was fined $15,000 for a range of fishing-related offences. Picture: Alex Treacy
Bundamba man Umesh Chand, 53, was fined $8000 and his son Vinal Vikesh Chand, 26, was fined $15,000 for a range of fishing-related offences. Picture: Alex Treacy

Mud crab bandits fined more than $20k for low act

An Ipswich father-and-son have copped massive fines after they were busted stealing professional crabbers' catches, keeping female and juvenile mud crabs, and failing to label their pots.

The younger of the two also faced additional charges for illegally selling live mud crabs and attempting to evade Department of Agriculture and Fisheries officers, nearly running one down.

Bundamba pair Umesh Chand, 53, a truck driver, and his son Vinal Vikesh Chand, 26, a quality assurance officer, both pleaded guilty to all offences, committed largely in February last year.

The Chands were both charged with two counts of unlawfully interfering with crab pots, three counts of unlawful possession of a regulated fish, and three counts of failing to label their crab pots with their names.

 

Bundamba man Umesh Chand, 53, was fined $8000 and his son Vinal Vikesh Chand, 26, was fined $15,000 for a range of fishing-related offences. Picture: Alex Treacy
Bundamba man Umesh Chand, 53, was fined $8000 and his son Vinal Vikesh Chand, 26, was fined $15,000 for a range of fishing-related offences. Picture: Alex Treacy

In addition to this, Vinal was also charged with obstructing a DAF inspector, failing to follow the inspector's direction, and four counts of selling live mud crabs unlicensed.

The court heard the offences were committed at Jacobs Well on the northern Gold Coast.

On February 2 and again on February 10 last year, the Chands, in their 4.2m aluminium-hull boat, took crabs from pots belonging to a commercial fisherman.

The fisherman witnessed the offences both times and reported it to DAF on the second occasion, prompting officers to try and intercept the Chands at the boat ramp upon their return.

However, Vinal left quickly, driving around the corner to park at a tackle shop, where inspectors caught up with him.

The court heard an inspector stood in front of Vinal's car with his arms raised, but Vinal took off, only missing the inspector by about 2m.

After escaping, he deposited a blue esky on the side of the road, which contained about 30 mud crabs. The bag limit is 20 mud crabs.

An inspection of the Chands' boat also revealed a female mud crab (illegal) and five juveniles under the 15cm minimum length.

In addition to this, their crab pots were unmarked, and analysis of Vinal's phone revealed four occasions where he had illegally sold live crabs.

DAF lawyer Jackson Cranitch told the court the most serious crimes were stealing mud crabs from commercial fishermen.

"They rely on their catch for a living," he said.

"It is not in the spirit of fishing."

Umesh was fined $8000 and Vinal $15,000.

No convictions were recorded and their boat will be returned to them.

Originally published as Mud crab bandits fined more than $20K for low act


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