Man sentenced for illegally catching freshwater crocodiles

Issued: 7 Mar 2023

A man has been fined $12,000 in the Townsville Magistrates Court today after being found guilty of unlawfully catching or attempting to catch sixteen freshwater crocodiles from the Ross River.

Jayden Wilson was also ordered to pay $1,500 in legal costs and convictions were recorded. The penalty has been welcomed by the Department of Environment and Science.

The offences occurred on numerous occasions between November 2020 and 2021. The man was charged with 12 offences of taking a protected animal contrary to section 88(2) of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld).

The Court heard a member of the public made a cruelty complaint to the RSPCA in 2021, which was then forwarded to DES for investigation.

An investigation confirmed that the man regularly caught or attempted to catch freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstonii) with rope or by hand in the Ross River in the section accessible by the Loam Island Boat Ramp.

The man videoed the unlawful activity which also included footage of him releasing the crocodiles. He posted a number of the videos to social media.

DES compliance officers conducted a search of social media and found eight videos that had been posted showing a man approaching and catching and removing, or attempting to catch, freshwater crocodiles of various sizes.

Catching or attempting to catch freshwater crocodiles is foolish and risky behaviour – it is also illegal. Freshwater crocodiles, including juvenile animals have very sharp teeth which they use to slash from side to side.

They are capable of inflicting serious injuries on humans. People are reminded never provoke, harass or interfere with freshwater crocodiles – even juveniles, as they will lash out if they feel threatened or cornered.

As the environmental regulator, DES takes compliances matters seriously. We make no apology for taking strong action against people who commit offences against Queensland’s nature conservation laws.

Townsville is croc country. People in croc country need to be crocwise or they risk fines, court action and serious injury.