Abalone apprehension on Central Coast
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Two men caught allegedly diving for abalone in closed waters on the NSW Central Coast will be prosecuted for a number of offences, NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Compliance Manager, Glenn Tritton, said today.
"NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers observed two men diving on the northern side of Crackneck Point, near Bateau Bay, late last month," Mr Tritton said.
"It will be alleged that a 26 year old man from Long Jetty and 19 year old man from Forresters Beach were found in possession of a total of 94 abalone, 75 of which were found to be of a prohibited size.
"The men will face a number of charges, including take abalone in contravention of a fishing closure, exceed possession limit and possess prohibited size fish.
"One of the men will face an additional charge of obstruction for attempting to flee the scene.
"The 96 abalone, along with two full sets of diving equipment, catch bags, a gaff hook and two carry bags were seized."
The waters between Port Stephens and Jervis Bay are closed to the taking of abalone to allow stocks to recover in the area following outbreaks of the aquatic parasite Perkinsus.
"Taking abalone from this closed area carries a maximum penalty of $22,000 and 6 months imprisonment, while the penalty for exceeding bag limits is $11,000 and 3 months in jail," Mr Tritton said.
"The possession limit in waters open to the taking of abalone is two per person with the minimum prescribed legal length being 11.7cm.
"NSW DPI Fisheries Officers will continue to target high risk offenders involved in illegal fishing activity across the State, utilising a range of specialised patrol vehicles and vessels.
"A key responsibility of NSW DPI is to promote responsible fishing practices to help ensure healthy and sustainable fisheries for future generations.
"It is the responsibility of fishers to ensure they are acting within the law at all times."
Information relating to illegal fishing should be immediately reported to the Fishers’ Watch Phone Line on 1800 043 536.
For further information on fishing rules and regulations visit, www.dpi.nsw.gov.au or obtain a 2009 NSW recreational fishing guide.
Media contact: Rebecca Bowman 0438247571