East Gippsland abalone thief lands six months gaol

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After being caught in far East Gippsland last weekend with a commercial quantity of abalone a recidivist fish thief has been gaoled for six months.

The 43 year old Sydney man was apprehended by Fisheries Officers and police on Saturday morning, in possession of 120 abalone.

The man was interviewed, charged with trafficking and possessing a commercial quantity of abalone and breaching a court order under the Fisheries Act before being remanded in custody.

He was banned from any sort of abalone fishing activity in Victoria for ten years, when he appeared in the Sale Magistrates Court on Monday.

Under the prohibition order he must not:

• possess any abalone in Victoria;
• possess any commercial fishing equipment within ten kilometres of estuarine or marine waters;
• possess any abalone tool;
• be on any boat less than 20 metres in length;
• be on board any registered fishing boat in Victorian waters and not engage in any abalone fishing activity.

A number of other criminal offences were also identified which resulted in further charges being laid by police. All the abalone, equipment and a vehicle were seized.

Senior Fisheries Officer Trudy Schmidt said the penalty reflected the community’s view in relation to those people who flout the law and steal abalone.

Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing activity is urged to call the 24 hour reporting line 13 FISH (13 3474).


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