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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 30 September 2022

Northern suburbs abalone poacher given suspended jail term

A recidivist abalone poacher, Cam Duy Dao, has been granted a suspended jail sentence following a decision by a Perth Magistrate on Tuesday this week.

The 55-year-old northern suburbs man was convicted of abalone offences that occurred on 22 December 2018 and 13 December 2019.  He was fined $12,000 and issued with additional mandatory penalties of $13,494 as well as being sentenced to seven months imprisonment, which was suspended for 10 months.

The court heard at about 2am on 22 December 2018, Dao and two other men took a taxi from Osborne Park to the beach at Iluka. The same taxi collected them from Iluka at around 4am.

Compliance officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) followed the taxi from the beach and apprehended the men at a service station in Woodvale with 312 unshucked abalone between them. Dao was apprehended after running from the taxi with 135 abalone in his bag.    

The following year, on 13 December, Dao was one of two men wearing backpacks observed by DPIRD officers near the beach at Ocean Reef. 

During the apprehension, the court heard that Dao dropped a bag containing 140 abalone, ran away and attempted to hide in coastal bush about 300 metres away. He was apprehended with resistance. 

Mr Dao was described as having an extensive record of offending, in particular against the FRMA (Fish Resources Management Act). He was found guilty on multiple unlawful fishing counts, exceeding possession limits, obstructing fisheries officers, and contravening a fishing prohibition order. He's been prohibited from being in possession of abalone since 2013.  

DPIRD’s Regional Compliance Metro Director Mark Kleeman said the strict penalties under the Act that covered WA’s fishing laws reflected the community expectation that fish resources should be used in a sustainable and lawful manner.  

“Abalone stocks on the Perth coast are at high risk of over-exploitation, but at the same time abalone is a highly marketable commodity. DPIRD compliance officers take all the required measures to protect these stocks and apprehend illegal abalone fishers,” Mr Kleeman said. 

“This offender regularly used the cover of darkness to illegally collect abalone from reefs along the Perth coast, so it’s important if anyone notices unusual activity like this that they report it.”

If you have information involving the any illegal fishing activity, you can report it anonymously to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

Last modified: 30/09/2022 11:53 AM

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