Covert surveillance near Tathra leads to seizure of 155 abalone from 2 men.
Last month Fisheries Officers conducting surveillance on men diving off Bournda National Park south of Tathra stopped and searched a vehicle leaving the area and located two of the men with 155 abalone 62 of which were of a prohibited size. The abalone and a quantity of dive gear were seized. Abalone have a minimum size of 11.7 cm and a bag/possession limit of 2.
An 18 year old male from Moruya and a 38 year old male from Queanbeyan now face a number of charges including possession of prohibited size fish in circumstances of aggravation, possessing a commercial quantity of abalone and possessing shucked abalone. The maximum penalty for these charges is $88,000 and/or 18 months imprisonment.
Buying and selling black market abalone is serious crime and poses a health and sustainability risk to the community. Retailers should know where the abalone have come, ensure they get a receipt from a reputable seller and comply with rules around disposing of the water used to store abalone and waste matter. Consumers and their families should not risk their health and safety by buying black market abalone that also harms legitimate diver's livelihoods. Fishers are also reminded that using abalone gut for bait is illegal to reduce the risks of spreading disease.
NSW DPI Fisheries has produced abalone guides in English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Korean and Vietnamese about abalone rules. Report illegal fishing to Fishers Watch on 1800 043 536 or online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/report-illegal-activity.