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Abalone duo fined $15,000 and lose car

by Victorian Fisheries Authority 7 Jun 05:01 UTC 7 June 2019
Abalone duo fined $15,000 and lose car © Victorian Fisheries Authority

Two men have been fined $15,000 and had their car forfeited after pleading guilty to possessing nearly 300 abalone at Altona in January.

The two men faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court last week and pled guilty to charges of taking a commercial quantity of abalone, taking abalone during the closed season and taking undersize abalone.

Victorian Fisheries Authority Acting Director of Education and Enforcement Brooke Hall said the men were found in possession of 298 abalone, 291 of which were undersize.

"The pair's illegal haul is nearly 30 times the daily recreational bag limit of 5 abalone per person," Mr Hall said.

"The men were arrested in January about 48 hours after Fisheries Officers received a tip off via Fisheries' 13FISH (133474) illegal fishing reporting line.

"Officers and Fisheries Investigators intercepted the pair at Altona Reef in the early hours of the morning after watching them dive. Nearly 300 abalone were found in their vehicle.

"After a search warrant was obtained, Fisheries Officers searched their home and found freshly shucked abalone shells and further evidence of large-scale abalone harvesting.

"The men's vehicle, dive equipment and abalone were seized on the spot.

"The pair were fined $7,500 each with conviction, and their diving equipment and a Ford XR6 worth $5000 was ordered forfeited by the magistrate."

Mr Hall said this was a great example of 13FISH working at its best.

"We received a phone call, followed it up quickly with thorough investigation and surveillance using expert staff from across the organisation, then apprehended two offenders who posed a serious threat to Victoria's valuable abalone stocks."

If you see or suspect illegal fishing activity, call 13FISH (133474), anytime. You can remain anonymous. Make the call and make the difference!

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