by Hugo Zoller
Fined $2000 each, two Reservoir men have also been convicted for using a screwdriver to remove 149 black-lipped abalone from the two-metre intertidal zone near Mornington earlier this year.
The two men, aged 46 and 31, were charged after being found in possession of the abalone by Fisheries Officers in March.
The Frankston Magistrates Court heard last week that between 11am and three pm on March third at Linley Point near Mornington, the men removed the 149 abalone, 53 of which were under the minimum legal size of 10cm.
The legal catch limit for abalone is five per person per day.
The Court heard that after taking the abalone the men returned to their vehicle, where they were intercepted by the Fisheries Officers.
Upon seeing the Officers, one of the men threw his backpack into nearby bushes. The Officers retrieved the backpack and upon inspecting it discovered part of the illegal haul.
The Officers then searched the men’s vehicle and found five small nets which are defined as
commercial fishing equipment and which are not legal to possess without an appropriate licence.
Both men were found guilty of taking more than twice the daily catch limit for abalone, using an object other than an abalone tool to take abalone, taking undersize abalone and removing abalone from the intertidal zone.
One of the men was also found guilty of possessing commercial fishing equipment.
On top of the fines and convictions, the men were also prohibited from fishing in fresh or marine water for 12 months.
Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing is urged to contact the 24-hour fisheries offence
reporting line 13 Fish (13 3474).