AN Ellenbrook man has been fined after being found with a big quantity of abalone in his possession.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) metropolitan region compliance manager Todd A’Vard said an early morning roadside inspection of a vehicle on West Coast Hwy at Watermans Bay in December 2016 resulted in the 47-year-old man being fined in the Joondalup Court last week.
Due to the big quantity of abalone involved, Dat Duc Luu was convicted under trafficking legislation and given a fine and penalty of $14,898.40, along with $3365 for other fishing offences and $988 in court costs.
Mr A’Vard said the court heard that Luu was apprehended just before 5am on Friday, December 2016 by fisheries and marine officers who were conducting a targeted operation and had earlier observed him fishing in an area of the Marmion Marine Park that was off limits.
Waterman recreation area, which is located within the marine park, has been generally closed to fishing for near 50 years,’’ he said.
“All reef life, including abalone, rock lobster, crabs and other shellfish are totally protected in this area.
“Signage in the area clearly identified that fishing there, particularly for reef dwelling marine life, is strictly prohibited.
“This area is particularly important for abalone research to help in determining the total capacity of the metropolitan abalone fishery.
Mr A’Vard said the department regularly undertook regular surveillance of the Waterman recreation area to counter the risk of abalone poaching – day and night.
“Fishing rules are crucial to help maintain the sustainability of Western Australia’s fisheries, particularly abalone, and the majority of recreational fishers do the right thing, but taking 255 abalone from a restricted area is totally unacceptable and the fines imposed this week reflect the magistrate’s and community’s concern.
“While these were Mr Luu’s first fisheries offences, he admitted to fishing in the Waterman recreation area on three occasions and it’s the repeated offending that has also led to him being prohibited from fishing for or being in possession of abalone for two years.
“We would ask the local community to maintain vigilance and report any suspicious activity in or near this important reef area.”
Call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 to report any suspected illegal fishing activity.
Information on rules and limits is available in the Recreational fishing guide, which can be viewed or downloaded at www.fish.wa.gov.au