Abalone trafficking charges

The men, aged 31 and 27, were intercepted by fisheries officers with support from Victoria Police near Cann River on the evening of August 28.

Officers searched the men’s vehicle and allegedly found 276 shucked abalone, some of which were found to be below the minimum legal size of 12cm which applies in Eastern Victoria.

The daily recreational catch limit for abalone is five per person, while the Fisheries Act defines a catch of 100 or more abalone as a commercial quantity.

The two men, from the Illawarra area of NSW, were arrested and later charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of abalone.

The vehicle used by the men, a four wheel drive twin cab utility, together with a mobile phone and assorted diving equipment, were seized.

The men, who also face a range of other charges in relation to the incident, were bailed to appear in the Orbost Magistrates Court on October 25.

Department of Primary Industries director of education and enforcement for fisheries Michael Hodder said trafficking a commercial quantity of abalone was an indictable offence liable to a maximum 10 years’ imprisonment or fine of more than $150,000.

“DPI will continue to target these type of offences using all our legislative powers and partnership arrangements with other agencies,” Mr Hodder said.

People who see or suspect illegal fishing activity should phone the fisheries offence reporting line 13FISH (133 474).