CRABBY: Crab pot owners are fighting back against thieves.
CRABBY: Crab pot owners are fighting back against thieves. Contributed

Thieves hit river crabbers

THE theft of crabs and crab pots in the Burnett River has become so bad some owners are setting up cameras to catch the thieves.

Tackle World manager Ben Shorten said because of the thieving he no longer crabs in the river.

"I know people who are setting up infra-red cameras in the mangroves to keep watch on their pots," he said.

Mr Shorten said he believed most of the stealing was to sell the crabs on the black market.

"Running up to Christmas crabs are $60-$70 in the shops," he said.

"If they're black marketing and they take 10 crabs and sell them for $10 each that's a hundred bucks."

Mr Shorten said some of the thieves would check pots and take the crabs.

"Some people put ties in to keep the pots closed, and hen they come back they find the ties have been cut," he said.

"Or they'll find the bottoms of the pots have been cut."

But he said if they were good quality pots they would take them too.

Mr Shorten said crab pot theft was rife in the Burnett River.

"You can ask anyone who crabs the river on a regular basis," he said.

Dale Fagg said he had four pots stolen over the Christmas period.

"My pots are heavy and don't wash away in the Burnett," he said.