A ROCKHAMPTON commercial fisherman has been fined after 199 shark fins were found in his possession without bodies.
Joseph Greenhalgh pleaded guilty in Yeppoon Magistrates Court last week to an offence under the Fisheries Act.
Not having shark bodies to justify the possession of shark fin constituted the offence, a first for the Fitzroy region. Greenhalgh was fined $450 plus $63 court costs.
The court heard that in April last year, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers saw shark fins being dried on the deck of Greenhalgh's boat in the Fitzroy River.
Greenhalgh was subsequently found guilty and convicted of a separate offence committed in May 2004, which he had pleaded not guilty to.
On that occasion he illegally used a net to block off more than half of a tidal channel in Corio Bay.
For that offence he was fined $800 plus $63 costs.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries prosecuting officer Amanda Bunn said mandatory retention of the shark's torso targetted the cruel disposal of de-finned live sharks.
"Dependent on the species, each shark can provide about five marketable fins,'' she said.
Shark fin is popular on the Asian market.