Professional crabber Dale Collie is fed up with people raiding his crab pots in the Sarina area.
Professional crabber Dale Collie is fed up with people raiding his crab pots in the Sarina area. Lee Constable

Crabber hires chopper and buys cameras to catch crab thieves

CRABBERS' vendetta against pot raiders is reaching boiling point.

Professional crabber Dale Collie has gone to extreme measures to send crab pot thieves scurrying.

He hired a chopper so he could search from the sky for his stolen pots, and has scattered numerous infra-red Scoutguard cameras among the trees and mangroves on Big Dawson Creek to catch the crooks.

He has been using the outdoor cameras for about six years but last Saturday he hit the jackpot when one of the devices captured what appears to be a family of three stealing from his custom-made pots.

Dale Collie hired a chopper to search for his 23 stolen pots, taken in one hit.
Dale Collie hired a chopper to search for his 23 stolen pots, taken in one hit.

Mr Collie doesn't know who the people in the pictures are.

"But they will now know who I am now," he said.

In his opinion, 99% of recreational and pro fishermen are honest but 1% are rogues. "And they're the ones we have to get rid of," he said.

Yesterday Mr Collie took the images to Sarina police Senior Constable John Black, who said investigations into the matter would commence.

Mr Collie said consistent raiding had nearly sent him bankrupt, and in the last financial year he had struggled to break even. He said the only time he made good money from the industry was when it's "rough as guts," and the thieves don't brave the water.

A family of thieves is caught taking crabs from one of Dale Collie’s pots.
A family of thieves is caught taking crabs from one of Dale Collie’s pots.

His custom-made multi-coloured pots even have signs on them saying "smile you are on camera".

But he said it was time the crooks were named, shamed, prosecuted and brought to justice.

"I want the fisheries to charge them, police to charge them and then I want to talk to my solicitor to sue them," he said.

HIGH COST

  •  $1000 - cost to hire a helicopter to search for missing pots
  •  $195 to $295 - the cost of a Scoutguard camera


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