Abalone offender in hot water after being found guilty

11 Aug 2021

Tough penalties have recently been imposed on abalone offenders in NSW far south local courts, with NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers playing a significant role in the men's apprehension.

DPI’s Director of Fisheries Compliance, Dr Andrew Moriarty said that a total of five men have been apprehended by Fisheries Officers and charged for the possession of abalone in two separate incidents.

“The first incident has seen two men, who were apprehended by DPI Fisheries Officers in possession of 262 shucked abalone at the Aragunnu campground within the Mimosa Rocks National Park,” Dr Moriarty said.

“The men were sentenced on 11 March 2021 and 15 July 2021 after one man pleaded not guilty to the offences, however, the man was later found guilty by the court. The second man plead guilty to his offences.

“The cumulative total of penalties included 16 months' imprisonment, to be served by way of intensive correction orders, plus $12,250 in fines and costs.

“These penalties act as a warning to offenders, that heavy fines will be dealt if you are found guilty of these offences.”

The penalties related to charges for abalone trafficking and possession of shucked abalone.

The second incident has seen three men from the ACT plead guilty to joint possession of 95 abalone, of which 87 were prohibited size.

The men were sentenced at Bega Local Court on July 13.

“The men were apprehended by DPI Fisheries Officers at Baronda Headland, locally known as Cowdroys within the Mimosa Rocks National Park near Tathra,” Dr Moriarty said.

“The three men were fined a total of $12,000 for charges in relation to exceeding the possession limit of abalone in circumstances of aggravation and possession of prohibited size fish in circumstances of aggravation.

“Dive equipment was also seized by Fisheries Officers for each matter and forfeited.

“The maximum penalties for abalone theft include fines of up the $88,000 and terms of imprisonment up to 10 years for abalone trafficking.”

Rewards of up to $1,000 are available for information that leads to a conviction of abalone thieves. Information can be reported to Fishers Watch on 1800 043 536 or via the online form.

Media contact: 02 6391 3686