Abalone poacher cops mega fine

$104,000 fine for WA man caught with commercial quantities could set legal precedent

A Western Australian man
was this week ordered to pay $104,000 in fines, penalties and court costs, for offences relating to contraventions of the Abalone Management Plan 1992, reports the WA Department of Fisheries.

The contraventions involved dealing in more than 80kg of abalone in June and July last year, as well as attempting to deal in a further 250kg of abalone between July and August 2008. The magistrate also ordered forfeiture of the van used to carry the product, a commercial scale, and $1,500 cash, from when the man was apprehended.

John Looby, Department of Fisheries manager of compliance and regional support, said recreational and commercial fishers who adhered to the rules would welcome the court result.

"The court-ordered forfeiture of the van used in these offences sets a precedent that will be applied in similar cases in respect of boats, vehicles and equipment," he said.

The man was apprehended after Fisheries and Marine Officers in conjunction with WA Police worked on "Operation Acacia" in August last year. The Operation involved searches and interviews at business premises and homes across Perth and regional towns. Swoops on August 21 and 25, 2008, were preceded by seven months of covert surveillance and compliance activity.


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