A Perth fisherman who was caught exceeding catch limits during a “Robinson Crusoe-type adventure” off the coast of Leeman has been fined more than $6000. In Geraldton Magistrate’s Court last Thursday, Timothy Joseph Ryan, from Safety Bay, pleaded guilty to exceeding category one fish possession limits, exceeding catch limits for dhufish and exceeding bag limits for pink snapper. Fisheries prosecutor Ron Campbell said Ryan was inspected at sea about 40km west of Leeman on August 24 where officers found three dhufish, four baldchin groper and 13 pink snapper, exceeding the possession limit by 16 fish. He described the incident as “high level offending”, saying messages found on Ryan’s phone showed it was “planned and organised and pre-meditated”. Mr Campbell told the court the Statewide possession limit is the two days bag limit, meaning the maximum number of demersal scalefish a person can have in their possession in the West Coast Region is four. Ryan’s lawyer told the court the 53-year-old LNG production technician was having a “manic episode” at the time and has set off on a “Robinson Crusoe-type adventure” from 350km south in Perth and was camping in his 7.7m vessel. “His psychologist has provided a letter outlining Mr Ryan’s longstanding diagnosis of bipolar-affective disorder,” he said. “His behaviour was affected leading to risk-taking and impulsivity. 40km offshore in (a) small fishing vessel (is) quite dangerous.” “Even his wife couldn’t get in contact with him. He was camping out on his boat.” The court was told Ryan’s vessel was seized by officers in August last year after the offending occurred. Due to his early plea of guilty Mr Campbell did not ask the court to order forfeiture of the boat. Ryan’s mental state was given little weight by Magistrate Chris Miocevich who said the evidence was clear he had been planning to flout the fishing laws from 13 days before he was caught. “He deliberately went out there to get fish in excess of limits,” he said, reading a text message found on Ryan’s phone which said: “Going to set my 80l Engle in the cabin and pirate the f… out of it”. Ryan was fined $2000, ordered to pay mandatory penalties of $4092 and court costs of $248.70. He was ordered to forfeit the fish seized by inspectors and was prohibited from being on a recreational fishing vessel for one year and holding a recreational fishing licence for one year. DPIRD’s director of regional compliance for the Mid West and Gascoyne, Mick Kelly said tough fines and penalties, indicated the seriousness of the offences. “In Western Australia we’re into the second half of a 20-year recovery plan to help keep our State’s highly valued demersal species sustainable,” he said.