BUSTED: Abalone allegedly found in the possession of a Batemans Bay man. Photo: NSW FISHERIESA Batemans Bay man found hiding up a tree will face Bega Local Court after being nabbed by Fisheries officers near Bermagui.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Fisheries Compliance Director Glenn Tritton said the 36-year-old Batemans Bay man was caught during a compliance operation targeting an illegal abalone syndicate on January 28.
“Members of the statewide operations and investigation group, with assistance from Montague district Fisheries officers, apprehended the man following a period of surveillance,” Mr Tritton said.
“When approached in bushland, the man attempted to avoid detection and was located hiding up in a tree.
“It is alleged that he was in possession of 161 shucked blacklip abalone, 159 more than the legal limit of two per person in NSW.
“He will face a charge of traffic in an indictable species of fish, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, possess more than maximum quantity of fish (in circumstances of aggravation), which carries a maximum fine of $88,000 and/or 18 months’ imprisonment for a second or subsequent offence and possessing shucked abalone at unauthorised premises, which carries a maximum fine of $5500.
“Courts now also have the option to impose additional monetary penalties of up to 10 times the market value of the abalone.”
Mr Tritton said abalone was now listed as a priority and indictable species under the Fisheries Management Act.
“This apprehension sends a clear message to would-be abalone thieves that their actions will not be tolerated and repeat offenders should be aware that if you are caught stealing abalone, the punishment will be severe,” he said.
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