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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 16 October 2020

Black market trader caught out by Operation Krakatau

​A 37-year-old man from Margaret River has been ordered to pay $119,625 in fines, mandatory penalties and court costs after pleading guilty to seven charges related to the trafficking of abalone and western rock lobster. 

The sentencing handed down today in Perth Magistrate’s Court stemmed from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Operation Krakatau, investigating the illegal trade of fish in the State’s South West.

As part of the undercover compliance operation, DPIRD surveillance tracked the illegal black market activity between December 2017 and May 2018.

Five charges for serious breaches of the West Coast Rock Lobster and Abalone Management Plans applied to dealing with 135 lobster and 146 roe’s abalone.  Two additional charges of fish trafficking were reserved for the most serious offences involving trafficking of 224 green lip abalone.

The offender was fined a total of $114,863 for the seven offences, including $41,500 general penalties and $73,363 of mandatory additional penalties, and court costs of $4762.55.
He was also prohibited from engaging in any activity related to fishing or being in possession of any abalone or western rock lobster until 2025.

DPIRD South West regional compliance manager Russel Adams said strict rules were in place to ensure the sustainability of abalone and western rock lobster, two of the State’s most lucrative fisheries.
“In this case, the department carried out an extensive investigation over 18 months involving surveillance and evidence gathering to achieve this successful prosecution of black market operations.


“This case should serve as a reminder that severe penalties will be imposed for those who breach fisheries rules and put our aquatic resources and our fisheries at risk.
“Anyone suspicious of illegal trading is urged to report it to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.
“Reports to FishWatch are treated confidentially and help to protect WA’s reputation for a safe, reliable and well-managed seafood industry.

Last modified: 19/10/2020 8:00 AM

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