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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
​Oyster Harbour aquaculture
Friday 2 August 2019

Albany men fined for taking oysters from an aquaculture lease

​Two men were this week ordered by a magistrate to each pay $1,205.30 in fines and court costs for interference with fishing gear, at a shellfish farm in Albany’s Oyster Harbour.

On Wednesday (31 July), a 73 year-old Mandurah man and a 45 year-old from Albany were also granted spent convictions and the 80 oysters they had removed from the poles and lines in the aquaculture lease area were forfeited to the court.

In the same way that it’s illegal to interfere with recreational or commercial fishing gear that is not your own, this case is a reminder that aquaculture leases are also protected under law.

Section 172 of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 states that “a person must not remove fish from any fishing gear or aquaculture gear.”

The Albany Magistrates Court heard the offenders were in the intertidal area of Oyster Harbour at midday on the 13th of October last year when they waded out to the lease area and removed the shellfish from the aquaculture infrastructure.

As a result of information received from the public, the pair were apprehended by Fisheries officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the men admitted to removing the oysters from the aquaculture equipment, without permission.

Following the court case, the department's Regional Manager South, Russell Adams said aquaculture operations were expanding around Western Australia.

“Aquaculture growth is bringing jobs and new opportunities around the State and it’s important to protect the farmers’ infrastructure from interference,” Mr Adams said.

“In the same way we also need to continue to educate the community and let them know that interference with any type of fishing gear, commercial or recreational, is unlawful.  
“It is illegal to remove any fish, including oysters and mussels, from any fishing or aquaculture gear without the authority of the owner and the offence carries a maximum fine of $25,000 and up to one year’s imprisonment.

“Most fishers understand the need to do the right thing, however, if you see something involving fish or fishing that doesn’t look right, then FishWatch provides a quick and easy way to report it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Call 1800 815 507 and report what you know, so our Fisheries compliance officers can follow through and investigate.”

Last modified: 2/08/2019 3:56 PM

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