Random breath test uncovers large scale abalone theft

Posted by Isobel Drake on 9th July 2009

Two men stopped by Police for a random breath test on the NSW South Coast, have allegedly been found to have hundreds of illegally fished abalone in their vehicle.”NSW Police pulled over the car for a routine check at Quaama, near Cobargo, on June 18,” NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Compliance Manager, Glenn Tritton, advised yesterday. “Upon searching the vehicle, police allegedly located a quantity of diving gear, along with two backpacks found to contain a quantity of shucked abalone meat.”

“A NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officer attended the scene, locating 519 freshly shucked abalone in the two backpacks.”

NSW Police will prepare Court Attendance Notices for the men, a 33 year old from Batemans Bay, and a 28 year old from Queanbeyan, with a DPI fisheries officer providing expert advice by way of a witness statement.

NSW DPI Fisheries Officers seized the abalone meat, as well as two complete sets of diving gear.

It will be alleged the accused men illegally fished and shucked the abalone in waters, near Eden.

“The men are expected to face court charged with exceeding the daily bag limit for abalone, and shucking abalone adjacent to waters. The daily bag limit for abalone in NSW is two per person in waters open to the taking of abalone,” Mr Tritton said.

“Time after time we are seeing people continually flout the rules when it comes to Abalone fishing,” he added. “The laws are there for a reason – to protect the sustainability of the state’s fisheries resource.”

“NSW DPI Fisheries Officers will continue to target high risk offenders engaged in the illegal taking of abalone, and put them before the courts every time.”

Information on illegal diving or fishing should be reported immediately to the Abalone Compliance Group on 02 6499 8000.