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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Wednesday 19 August 2020

Fisher loses his licence to take abalone for five years

A 48-year-old Sorrento man has been ordered to pay a fine, mandatory penalty and court costs totalling $31,582.20 and had his recreational abalone fishing licence suspended for five years.

On Wednesday morning, the 27th of November last year (2019) the fisheries compliance officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) observed the man moving amongst the beach rocks, just south of Sugarloaf Rock and later intercepted him as he was leaving the area to find 292 roe’s abalone in his possession.

The daily possession limit (in the Southern abalone zone between Busselton Jetty and the Western Australian border) is 20 roe’s abalone (except in a person's permanent place of residence).

What the DPIRD compliance officers found in the man’s SUV was 241 shucked abalone weighing 6.85 kilograms and a further 51 whole abalone, with a weight of 4.93 kilograms.

In Busselton Court yesterday (Tuesday, 18 August 2020), the magistrate emphasised the seriousness of the man’s offence and the risk that people will take advantage of the fish stock if the regulatory regime is not enforced with meaningful penalties.

The court heard that when he was intercepted the man claimed he had not been doing any fishing and when the officers had searched the offender’s SUV, the man attempted to covertly hide a backpack the abalone were in underneath the vehicle.

The man was intercepted on Sugarloaf Road, Cape Naturaliste

Caught in the act, the man admitted the backpack contained abalone he had caught, but he didn’t know how many there were. The magistrate ordered the forfeiture of the abalone, backpack and two catch bags seized by the officers.

Acting Manager Regional Compliance South, Robert Bogumil said the penalties imposed and the suspension of the abalone licence by the magistrate were appropriate given that the offender as just one fisher had taken what is defined as a commercial quantity of abalone.

“It’s becomes a commercial quantity, if it’s more than 10 times the bag limit,” Mr Bogumil said. “This man collected more than 14 times the limit.

“The DPIRD fisheries compliance officers were conducting Operation Vesuvius patrols at the time, targeting the Roe’s abalone fishery. The rules are designed to ensure its sustainability.”

The 292 roe's abalone the man admitted he collected that morning

More information on the recreational rules is available in the Abalone fishing guide that’s available on the department’s website at www.fish.wa.gov.au. The obligation for all fishers is to know the rules that apply to what they are fishing for and the where they plan to fish.

We urge people to report any suspected illegal fishing activity to FishWatch on 1800 815 507. All reports are treated in the strictest of confidence and, by reporting what you see, you will be assisting us in protecting WA's fish resources for future generations.

Last modified: 19/08/2020 4:02 PM

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