AN illegal abalone fisher has been fined more than$3500 after pleading guilty to being in possession of 43 abalone at KiamaHeights.
Nanjing Night Net

Department of Primary Industries Director FisheriesCompliance Glenn Tritton said fisheries officers were conducting a routinepatrol of the Kiama Heights area in August 2012 when they observed two menpacking dive gear into bags and a backpack at Love’s Bay, Kiama Heights.

“Both men were inspected by fisheries officers, andone of the men was found to be in possession of 43 abalone in a backpack,” MrTritton said.

“Twenty-seven of these abalone were of a prohibitedsize.”

“The minimum size for abalone in NSW is 11.7cm witha maximum of two per person, and the NSW waters adjoining the Kiama area wereclosed to the take of abalone at this time.”

Officers seized the dive gear and the abalone,which were able to be returned to the water alive.

The 23-year-old Shellharbour man faced court latelast year and was charged with possess more than the maximum quantity of fishin circumstances of aggravation, possess prohibited size fish in circumstancesof aggravation and possess fish taken in contravention of a fishing closure.

He was convicted and fined $2750.

He was also instructed to pay professional costs of$990 and the seized dive gear was also forfeited to the crown.

“Abalone is listed as a priority species andpossession of 10 or more is classed as a commercial quantity,” Mr Tritton said.

“Possession limits on fish are in place to ensure afair share of fisheries resources among the community, to encourage responsiblefishing, reduce the chance of overfishing and to ensure stocks remain at asuitable level for future harvest.

“Offenders caught in possession of commercialquantities of abalone, prohibited size abalone or breaching fishing closureswill be caught and prosecuted before the courts.”

Anyone with information on illegal activity isencouraged to contact their local DPI Fisheries office or call the Fisher’sWatch Phoneline on 1800 043 536.

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