ABALONE fishers have been fined after illegally taking abalone from a reef top north of Moore River.
The Department of Fisheries said on Thursday, October 13 a magistrate in Lancelin Court ordered fines, additional penalties and court costs totalling $5628 each for two Gascoyne men who took 154 roe’s abalone and two scalaris abalone north of Moore River.
Department of Fisheries north metropolitan compliance manager Todd A’Vard said fishing in all WA waters north of the Moore River mouth had been closed since 2011, after a marine heatwave decimated northern stocks.
He said the court action served as a reminder, with the West Coast Zone abalone season fast approaching, that the closure, north of Moore River, remained in place so abalone stock there could recover to a sustainable level.
He said Quang Cung Tran, 47, and Kiem Hoang Ho, 41, were in a vehicle that was stopped at 8.50am on Tuesday, February 9 by fisheries and marine officers, who located two white buckets containing the abalone, which the men had jointly taken from the reef earlier that morning.
He said the court was told Tran admitted he had taken the abalone and that he intended to eat them.
Both Tran and Ho claimed they were unaware of the rules regarding the taking of abalone in the area.
Mr A’Vard said any recreational abalone fishing in WA required a licence and the onus was always on the fisher to know the rules that applied to them wherever they fished.
“This prosecution was made possible by two vigilant recreational fishermen who noticed what they suspected was illegal activity and one of them reported it to a Fisheries officer from Lancelin District. “We appreciate this public support in helping recovery of this fishery.’’
Anyone who has information on illegal fishing activities is asked to call the FishWatch 24-hour reporting line 1800 815 507, or contact a Department of Fisheries office.
For information about WA’s abalone fishing rules visit www.fish.wa.gov.au and Recreational fishing for abalone guide 2016/17.
The guide is available from Department of Fisheries’ offices and Information outlets in Perth and Regional centres, including the Gascoyne and Midwest regions.