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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 15 September 2017

Fisheries Officers raid a restaurant in Perth's northern suburbs

Fisheries and Marine Officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development this week raided a popular northern suburbs restaurant and bar, alleged to be engaging in black market seafood dealing.

At the same time on Tuesday (12 September), other Fisheries officers also executed a search warrant at a Stirling residence linked to the business.

The officers were part of Operation Fuji, which was initiated earlier this year to clamp down on illegal dealing in high value seafood including rock lobster and fish.

Officers seized computers and documentation and enquiries are continuing, to determine the extent of the alleged illegal activities.

Compliance Manager Todd A’Vard said that the resources directed towards the apprehension yesterday showed how serious the department takes these matters.

“Buying seafood illegally not only jeopardises the livelihoods of legitimately licensed fishers, but can also threaten the sustainability of the fishery. We're determined to stop this kind of illegal activity," Mr A’Vard said.

“Restaurants and seafood businesses that purchase illegal seafood are also placing their customers' health at risk, along with the reputation of their business.

“Owners wanting to increase profit margins by buying seafood cheaper, outside the commercial management arrangements, risk significant fines and penalties.”

Mr A’Vard said individuals risked fines of up to $400,000 and four years’ imprisonment for a first offence. Body corporates could be fined up to $800,000 for similar fish trafficking offences.

“Those cheap back door crays, abalone or fish might end up costing you a lot more than you thought,” he said. “We will catch up with you.”

Anyone who has information on illegal fishing activities, including any suspected black market sale of seafood, is asked to call the FishWatch reporting line 1800 815 507. Information can be provided confidentially.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development comprises the former departments of Agriculture and Food, Fisheries and Regional Development, together with the staff of the Regional Development Commissions.

Last modified: 15/09/2017 4:08 PM

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