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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
​Green lip abalone in a catch bag
Wednesday 20 October 2021

Big fines for black market seafood trader

A 58-year-old man from East Cannington has been ordered to pay more than $82,000 in fines, mandatory penalties and court costs after pleading guilty to four charges related to the trafficking of abalone and western rock lobster. 

The successful prosecution follows an earlier sentencing of a second offender, a 38 year old Margaret River man in October last year.

The sentencing handed down today in Perth Magistrate’s Court was the result of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD) Operation Krakatau, investigating the illegal trade of fish in Perth and the State’s South West.

Two charges were for serious breaches of the West Coast Rock Lobster and Abalone Management Plans for the purchase of 52 lobster and 146 roe’s abalone in January 2018. 

Two additional charges of fish trafficking were reserved for the most serious offences involving trafficking of a commercial quantity of fish involving 91 lobster in February 2018 and 84 frozen shucked green lip abalone in March 2018.

The offender was fined a total of $82,362 for, including $52,362 of mandatory penalties, an additional $20,000 discretionary fine and court costs of $10,000.

He was also prohibited from engaging in any activity related to fishing or being in possession of any abalone or western rock lobster for five years.

DPIRD Director of Regional Compliance South Russell Adams said abalone and western rock lobster were two of the State’s most lucrative fisheries and strict rules were in place to protect them.

“The investigation in this case was carried out over many months involving surveillance and evidence gathering and demonstrates our commitment to prosecuting black market operations,” Mr Adams said.

“Fish are a finite resource and severe penalties will be imposed for those who breach fisheries rules and put our aquatic resources and our fisheries at risk.”

Anyone suspicious of illegal trading is urged to report it to FishWatch on 1800 815 507.  Reports to FishWatch are treated confidentially and help to protect WA’s reputation for a safe, reliable and well-managed seafood industry.

Last modified: 20/10/2021 1:26 PM

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