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23K fine for illegal abalone fishing

11 Jul 2012

A twenty three year-old Point Pearce man has been convicted, fined more than $23 000 and received a suspended prison sentence for illegal abalone fishing.

The man was convicted in Kadina Magistrates Court in late June for various offences including the take of a commercial quantity of abalone and undersize Abalone, as well as a number of marine safety offences.

The conviction follows a February 2010 incident in which the 23 year old and another man were observed diving in waters off Stansbury.

A subsequent surveillance operation by Fisheries Officers and SAPOL led to the discovery of 327 abalone – of which 87 were under the minimum size limit of 13cm.

The illegal catch equated to more than 43kg of abalone meat with an estimated commercial value of $4 500.

PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture Regional Manager, Randel Donovan, said the conviction sends a strong message that fishers who ignore the rules will be heavily penalised.

“Fishing rules and regulations are in place to not only ensure the long term sustainability of our fisheries, but to ensure all fishers have equal access to the State’s resources,” Mr Donovan said.

In sentencing the magistrate noted the seriousness of the offending and ordered a six month suspended sentence, a fine of $22 350 plus additional costs of more than $1600, as well as forfeiture of the vessel used in the incident, equipment and 327 Greenlip Abalone.

In a separate incident heard in Kadina Magistrate’s Court on 18 June, a 64 year old man was found guilty and fined for exceeding the King George Whiting bag limit of 12 by 10 fish.

In October 2011, the man from Virginia was detected at Port Hughes Boat Ramp with excess fish concealed in a customised, hidden compartment in his vessel.

He was found guilty by the court and ordered to pay fines of more than $1000 and forfeit fishing equipment.

Suspicious or illegal fishing activity can be reported through the 24 hour FISHWATCH number on 1800 065 522. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.

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