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Warning of hefty penalties for reef picking

09 Feb 2016

Fishers are being reminded that it is illegal to remove any bottom dwelling aquatic organisms from intertidal reef areas in South Australia and anyone caught illegally targeting these valuable habitats could face considerable penalties.

The message follows the recent successful court outcome involving Abalone illegally being taken from the intertidal reef at Hallett Cove in 2015.

Late last year, a woman from Hallett Cove was convicted in the Christies Beach Magistrates Court and received fines and court costs totalling $3,757, after she was found guilty of possession of 96 undersized Abalone and nine Turbo Shells taken from the intertidal reef platform at Hallett Cove in February 2015.

The defendant was also banned from fishing for Abalone for five years and had all of her fish and equipment seized by Fisheries Officers at the time of the offence.

PIRSA Director Operations, Peter Dietman, said the government would not tolerate the illegal taking of important community owned aquatic resources and the strong penalties imposed serve as a reminder to the public of the serious nature of these offences.

"In South Australia, it is illegal to remove any bottom dwelling organisms from any intertidal rock reefs. Offences relating to the illegal taking of Abalone are considered one of the most serious offences under the Fisheries Management Act 2007 and will receive higher penalties and in some cases jail time," Mr Dietman said.

"South Australia has an abundance of fishing opportunities, and while we want people to enjoy this popular recreational past-time, we also need to ensure everyone complies with the rules so future generations can continue to enjoy recreational fishing in SA."

Intertidal reefs are the rocky areas of coastline between the low and high tide marks. In South Australia, it is illegal to remove any bottom dwelling organisms, including Abalone, Crabs, Coral, Barnacles, Limpets, Mussels, Shrimps, Snails and Worms, from any intertidal rock reef out to a depth of two metres.

For more information on the rules that apply to intertidal reef and Abalone fishing, visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing

Members of the public are urged to report suspicious or illegal fishing activity to the 24 hour Fishwatch number 1800 065 522 or via the SA Recreational Fishing Guide smartphone app, available for free download from www.pir.sa.gov.au/recfishingapp

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