Fisheries officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development have smelt something fishy going on and have executed search warrants in suburban Perth and the South West this week, as part of an investigation into alleged illegal trading in abalone and rock lobster.
Two men, apprehended as a result of this investigation, are likely to face a number of charges for serious offences and further enquiries are continuing into a number of other people.
The offences are focused on alleged dealing of more than 500 rock lobsters and more than 1000 abalone.
Compliance Manager – South, Richard Petty said WA laws had significant penalties attached for trafficking of seafood.
Individuals who traffick in priority fish, such as abalone and rock lobster, face fines of up to $400,000 and four year’s imprisonment, as well as court orders, licence suspensions and vehicle and vessel forfeitures. Body corporates could be fined up to $800,000 for similar fish trafficking offences.
“Anyone who suspects any kind of illegal fishing or illegal trading in fish is urged to phone FishWatch on 1800 815 507 so compliance officers can investigate,” he said.