10 February 2023

Repeat fisheries offender cops 18 months' jail and massive fine

| Katrina Condie
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The catch

The illegal catch has led to jail time. Photo DPI Fisheries.

A repeat fisheries offender has been jailed and had his gear confiscated after stealing abalone and lobsters on the South Coast.

Fisheries officers from the Batemans Bay District and the State-wide Operations and Investigations Group, Regional Mobile Squad, apprehended the repeat offender on 9 May 2022, in Ulladulla.

The offender faced the courts this week and was sentenced to 18 months in jail with a non-parole period of 11 months and fined $35,000, after he pleaded guilty to a range of fishing offences.

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Offences included trafficking an indictable species of fish and two counts of possessing more fish than the limit in circumstances of aggravation and possessing prohibited sized fish.

The man was caught by Fisheries officers with 94 abalone (two is the possession limit per person), and six Eastern Rock Lobsters (the bag limit per person is two).

The mans vehicle, jet ski and dive gears.

The man’s vehicle, jet ski and dive gear were seized. Photo: DPI Fisheries.

During the original inspection, Fisheries officers seized the abalone and lobsters along with the offender’s vehicle, jet ski, trailer and dive gear.

Fisheries’ Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Solitary Ranger has spent a busy summer on the South Coast focusing on marine park and commercial fishing compliance with a number of sanctuary zone offences detected in the Batemans Marine Park.

The OPV is continuing patrols further south to the border over February with colleagues from the Victorian Fisheries Authority offered the opportunity to participate in a run and check out the vessel and its capabilities.

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Anyone observing suspected illegal activity should call the DPI Fishers Watch service on 1800 043 536 or report it online.

You may be entitled to a monetary reward for reporting illegal fishing involving the taking of abalone or rock lobster which leads to the offender(s) being prosecuted and convicted in court.

Rewards are also possible for those who report illegal damage to marine vegetation such as clearing of mangroves or seagrasses which leads to the offender(s) involved being issued a penalty infringement notice or remediation order.

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