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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 14 May 2020

Illegal abalone fishing attracts penalties of more than $11,000

​A trip to fish for abalone at Sugarloaf Rock near Dunsborough last December (2019) had a significant sequel this week with a 51 year old woman ordered to pay fines, penalties and costs amounting to $11,355.90.

Compliance officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) were conducting targeted surveillance in the area on Sunday morning 15 December, when the fisher from the Perth suburb of Kensington took 107 abalone from a reef.

84 of the abalone were found to be undersize, when the woman was later apprehended near accommodation she was staying at in Dunsborough.

In Busselton Court (on Tuesday 12 May), the magistrate issued fines of $3,000 for each of the charges, which were related to exceeding the daily bag limit as well as being in possession of undersize Roe’s abalone.

The court was told the undersized abalone ranged in size from 32millimetres (mm) to 59.4mm. The minimum size limit for Roe’s abalone is 60mm.

The abalone haul, which lead to fines, penalties and costs of $11,355.90

A mandatory penalty of $2,610 applying to the 87 excess abalone above the Southern Zone’s daily bag limit of 20 abalone per licensed fisher, plus a $2,520 mandatory penalty for the undersize abalone that were taken was also applied, along with court costs of $225.90.  

In explanation to the compliance officers, the offender said she thought she could catch abalone for other people and wasn’t aware of a minimum size.

DPIRD Supervising fisheries compliance officer at Busselton Kevin Johnson said the fines provided a strong message to deter illegal abalone fishing in the Southern Zone.

“The Southern Zone extends from Busselton Jetty to the South Australian border and can be fished each day between 1 October and 15 May the following year,” Mr Johnson said.

“With the closed season approaching, we remind recreational fishers that compliance patrols will continue, to ensure nobody is fishing for abalone out of season.

“There’s more on the recreational rules in the Abalone fishing guide, which is available on the department’s website at The obligation for fishers is to know the rules.

“We also urge members of the community to report any kind of suspected illegal fishing activity to the FishWatch reporting line 1800 815 507.”

Reports to FishWatch 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: 14/05/2020 2:52 PM

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