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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 22 August 2019

Illegal abalone dealers pay the heavy price for breaking fishing laws

​A police traffic stop in Morley a year and a half ago has resulted in one man being ordered to pay more than $9,700 and another more than $7,700 for illegally dealing in abalone.

Police handed the case over to Fisheries and Marine Officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, when they found a large amount of abalone on the back seat of the vehicle the men were in.

After the Police officers contacted the department, the 109 abalone were seized by Fisheries officers, who charged the men with offences related to dealing in abalone.

 The 109 abalone the offenders had plans to sell illegally

Mirrabooka man Kil Ha DANG (aged 42) and Dinh Hoang NGUYEN, aged 47 from Marangaroo, who did not appear in Perth Magistrates Court (on Wednesday 14 August), were found guilty in their absence.

It’s an offence, under the Abalone Limited Entry Fishery Notice 1992, to purchase or deal in abalone, unless those abalone were taken by the holder of a commercial fishing licence while operating in accordance with the provisions of a licence.

Dang was issued with a fine, mandatory penalty and court costs totaling $9,710.80 and prohibited from being in possession of abalone for five years, while Nguyen was ordered to pay $7,710.80 all up. 

The court heard that Nguyen, who was driving the vehicle, enabled and aided Dang to deal in the abalone.

DPIRD Manager Regional Compliance Metro Todd A’Vard said, without the call and assistance received from the Police and the immediate response by our compliance officers on the day the men were intercepted, we would not have had a successful result.

“Individuals who illegally deal in priority fish, such as abalone, face fines of up to $400,000 and/or up to four year’s imprisonment, as well as court orders, licence suspensions and vehicle and vessel forfeitures,” Mr A’Vard said

“Commercial abalone fishing in WA is undertaken by licensed commercial abalone divers operating a limited number of managed fishery licences to take specific amounts of abalone (or quota) in particular zones.

“Illegal dealing in abalone not only undermines the legitimate livelihoods of the commercial fishers, but can potentially put consumers at risk and impact on abalone sustainability.” 

Anyone who suspects illegal fishing activity or sales is urged to call FishWatch, 1800 815 507.

Last modified: 22/08/2019 1:34 PM

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