Alleged abalone thief facing possible jail term

The Department of Primary Industries
A 40-year-old Highett man could face a lengthy jail term for allegedly trafficking more than 300 abalones at Brighton in Melbourne’s south east this week.

The man was allegedly found with 308 abalone, most of them undersize, when inspected by Fisheries Officers at Green Point on Sunday afternoon.

He will be charged on summons with trafficking and possessing a commercial quantity of abalone, both indictable offences with a maximum sentence of ten years’ and five years’ jail respectively.

The officers will also allege the man became agitated when approached and refused to give his name and address when asked to do so.

He will also be charged with exceeding the legal catch limit for abalone and refusing to give his name and address.

The man’s car was seized and impounded. The bag limit for abalone in all Victorian waters is five, and the minimum legal length for abalone taken from Port Phillip Bay is 10cm.

Acting Regional Fisheries Officer Dane Robinson said the taking of such a large quantity of mostly undersize abalone from the reef at Green Point would have a significant and damaging impact on the local ecosystem.

'Catch and size limits are rigorously enforced by Fisheries Officers to prevent over-fishing and the potential harm actions such as these can cause to the future viability of the reef system at Green Point,' Mr Robinson said.

Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing activity anywhere in the state is urged to call the 24-hour fisheries offence reporting line 13 FISH (13 3474).