A 33 year-old Templestowe man has been convicted and fined $2000 after pleading guilty to taking more than twice the legal catch limit for abalone in the closed season.
The diver was further ordered to forfeit about $1500 worth of diving equipment and pay costs on receiving the conviction in the Korrumburra Magistrate’s Court.
The man was first spotted snorkel diving with a spear gun at Shelley Beach, Kilcunda back in May. After getting out of the water he was found to be carrying 16 abalone in a green mesh catch bag (on an open day the catch limit for abalone is 5 per person).
Victorian Fisheries Authority Prosecutor Ben Carroll said the accused was asked if there were any additional abalone in his vehicle to which he replied “no”.
“Fisheries Officers searched the vehicle and located a further 25 abalone, bringing the total to 41,” Mr Carroll said. “The accused was interviewed and made admissions to using a screwdriver to remove the abalone from the reef,” he said.
The penalty for using equipment other than a specialised abalone tool to take abalone is $15,000 or 6 months imprisonment or both.
Victorian Fisheries Authority Director of Education and Enforcement, Ian Parks, said the case should send a clear message to anyone considering taking abalone in the closed season and more than they should. “The penalty for taking more than twice the catch limit for abalone is $15,000 or six months imprisonment or both,” Mr Parks said.
If you see or suspect illegal fishing activity, you can report it to Fisheries by calling 13FISH (13 3474) anytime.