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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 29 June 2017

Sanctuary zone abalone net a big fine for fisher

​A magistrate in Rockingham Court has described the actions of a man, who carried out illegal abalone fishing in the Seal Island Sanctuary Zone, as “inexcusable”.

The 56-year-old man was ordered to pay a total of $14,629.10 for the fine, mandatory penalty and court costs after being found guilty of possessing 132 Roe’s abalone from illegal fishing activity. 

Evidence presented to the court last Friday (23 June) explained how honorary Fisheries officers from the Department of Parks and Wildlife, who were on a patrol vessel, observed the offender fishing for abalone behind a rock on the southern side of Seal Island.

It was a Thursday morning, on 12 February 2015, when the man ignored directives from the officers and began to walk away along the reef platform, before pausing to discard two green mesh bags by submerging them into a hole in the reef platform.

One of the officers swam ashore and quickly recovered the mesh bags, which, on inspection by Department of Fisheries officers, were found to contain 132 Roe’s abalone and two turban shells. 28 of the abalone were undersize.

Rockingham-based Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Darren Schofield said Shag Rock, the reef platform and immediate waters were part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park.

“During the West Coast Zone abalone fishing seasons, abalone can be taken within the marine park, except from sanctuary zones and also Murray Reef,” Mr Schofield said.

“The reef platform at Shag Rock and its immediate waters are a part of the Seal Island Sanctuary Zone, where the taking of abalone is prohibited all year round.”

Mr Schofield said the detection and apprehension of the offender resulted from a joint operation between Fisheries officers and Parks and Wildlife officers.

“The majority of recreational fishers do the right thing and provide good stewardship, realising that rules around abalone fishing are designed to keeps stocks sustainable,” he said.

Information on rules and limits is available in the Recreational fishing guide, which can be found online at There is also an guide issued for abalone licence holders each year, to provide detailed fishing information on season dates and closed areas.

Anyone with information on illegal fishing activity is urged to call FishWatch on 1800 815 507, which is a 24-hour reporting line and the information is treated in strict confidence.

Last modified: 29/06/2017 3:26 PM

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