NSW court sentences abalone offender to prison

Two month jail term for abalone poacher caught with 200 times the legal limit

A habitual abalone offender has been sentenced to two months in prison after being found guilty of possessing almost two hundred times the legal limit of abalone, on the NSW South Coast, NSW Primary Industries Minister, Steve Whan, said today.

"The man was stopped by NSW Police in November 2007 at Narooma, as a result of information provided by Industry & Investment (I&I) NSW Fisheries Officers," Whan said.

"Police conducted a search of the stopped vehicle and found 396 shucked abalone meats, weighing 31.8kg, concealed in the rear compartment of a vehicle.

"The abalone and a quantity of diving gear and equipment was seized by Fisheries Officers.

"The offender, a 33 year old man from Bateman’s Bay, who has an extensive history of fisheries related crimes, admitted possession of the 396 abalone meats, and was charged with possessing more than the daily bag limit of abalone, and possessing shucked abalone adjacent to waters."

The legal possession limit for abalone in NSW is two per person, and abalone can only be taken from waters open to abalone collection. Abalone cannot be shucked (removed from shell) in or adjacent to waters.

The man faced Bateman’s Bay Local Court last month and plead guilty to the charges. The magistrate convicted and sentenced the repeat offender to two months imprisonment and a $200 fine.

"This sentence clearly shows that courts are prepared to send offenders to prison for committing serious fisheries crimes," Whan said.

"Fisheries Officers from NSW Industry and Investment and NSW Police are committed to ensuring that persons undertaking these types of illegal activities are apprehended and brought before the courts."

"The judiciary of NSW is very aware that these types of offences are damaging to the fisheries resource of NSW, and will act in the harshest manner to ensure the community understand the value of our fish.

Illegal fishing activity can be reported to the I&I NSW Abalone Compliance Group on (02) 6499 8000.


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