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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 15 September 2020

Popular bar and bistro fined for trafficking black market seafood

The manager of a northern suburbs restaurant is among five co-offenders ordered to pay fines, mandatory penalties and costs totalling $150,259, after pleading guilty to black market seafood trades in Perth Magistrates Court yesterday.

The offences, linked to the Currambine Bar and Bistro, were uncovered during the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Operation Fuji, to crack down on trafficking of black market fish.

The charges relate to offending between January and September 2017.

Yesterday afternoon, Sonja Gastevich was ordered to pay a total of $110,490.25 (including costs) on one count of the unauthorised trafficking of fish, dealing in ten times the bag limit of West Australian dhufish and four counts of contravening Section 74 of the Fish Resources Management Act by purchasing fish from a person who was not the holder of a commercial fishing licence. The overall total also included $78,850 for three record-keeping offences.

Resolve Nominees Pty Ltd (the company responsible for Currambine Bar and Bistro) and co-offenders Stephen Adrian Tombides, Ruben Jr Par Pascual and Laurie Mark Tombides were fined a total of $39,768.75 for their involvement in the black market dealings.

The extensive investigation included search, seizure and forensic auditing of the Currambine Bar and Bistro’s records, which identified significant discrepancies in the restaurant’s legitimate purchases of seafood when compared to their outgoing sales of seafood dishes including western rock lobster.

DPIRD Manager Regional Compliance Metro Todd A’Vard said individuals and businesses who dealt in fish outside legitimate commercial supply chains jeopardised the livelihoods of licensed fishers and threatened the sustainability of the fishery, as well as posing potential health risks to consumers.

“People must purchase their seafood from legitimate sources, to ensure the integrity of our State’s careful fisheries management arrangements. We will investigate and take strong action against those that operate outside the legal framework.

“We urge people to report any suspected illegal fishing activity to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

“All reports are treated in the strictest of confidence and, by reporting what you see, you will be assisting us in protecting Western Australia's fish resources for future generations.”

Last modified: 18/09/2020 10:07 AM

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