Sanctuary zone abalone net a big fine for fisher

PIC: Department of Fisheries WA

A fisher was fined nearly $15,000 after taking 132 Roe’s abalone during an illegal fishing trip in the Seal Island Sanctuary Zone near Rockingham.

The fisher was caught as a result of a joint operation between Department of Fisheries and Department of Parks and Wildlife officers, after being spotted fishing for abalone behind a rock on the southern side of Seal Island in the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park.

Ignoring commands from officers on a patrol vessel near to the shore, he walked away before being seen stashing two green mesh bags in a hole in the reef.

One of the officers swam ashore and quickly recovered the mesh bags, which on inspection were found to contain 132 Roe’s abalone and two turban shells.

28 of the abalone were undersize.

A magistrate in Rockingham Court has described the actions of the 56 year old man as “inexcusable”.

He was ordered to pay a total of $14,629.10 for the fine, mandatory penalty and court costs after being found guilty of possessing 132 Roe’s abalone from illegal fishing activity.  

Rockingham-based Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Darren Schofield said Shag Rock, the reef platform and immediate waters were part of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. 

“During the West Coast Zone abalone fishing seasons, abalone can be taken within the marine park, except from sanctuary zones and also Murray Reef,” Mr Schofield said.

“The reef platform at Shag Rock and its immediate waters are a part of the Seal Island Sanctuary Zone, where the taking of abalone is prohibited all year round.”

Anyone who has information on illegal fishing activities is asked to call FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

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