A Geraldton man who has pleaded guilty to 14 fisheries offences must forfeit his recreational rock lobster fishing licence and boat and pay more than $12,000 in fines and court costs. Murray Gordon Hopkins, 60, represented himself in Geraldton Magistrate’s Court on Thursday after being advised Legal Aid could not help him on fisheries matters. Hopkins was charged with six counts of using more than two pots to fish for rock lobster, two counts of pot interference, taking a protected fish, and two counts of contravening an order, among other charges which occurred between October 30 and November 19, 2020. One of the charges carried a maximum $40,000 penalty, with Hopkins facing up to 12 months jail time for another offence. Prosecutor Ron Campbell read out a statement from Western Rock Lobster Council chief executive Matt Taylor which said fisheries offences were “abhorrent” and “undermined the integrity” of the industry. Mr Campbell told the court someone known to Hopkins had bought 18 rock lobster from the then-59-year-old, with it being illegal for any recreational fisher to sell their catch. Hopkins said this was due to “an honest mistake” when he and a friend realised they had caught an additional two rock lobsters after forgetting to check a pot they pulled after reaching their bag limit. In explaining why he interfered with another person’s fishing gear, Hopkins said he had been pulling and re-baiting the pots for a friend who was unable to make the trip at the time. Hopkins told the court he fished for his own enjoyment and sold whatever he caught to friends and family only. He said he was “fully aware of the seriousness” of the charges and assured the court “this will never happen again”. Magistrate Erin O’Donnell was satisfied Hopkins understood the importance of protecting WA’s fishery and said the total $12,148 in fines she imposed was “modest”. In addition to surrendering his boat, Hopkins was forced to forfeit his trailer, outboard motor, GPS, cray pots and other fishing equipment. He is banned from rock lobster fishing for two years, but can catch other fish.