An operation by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) with the support of the South Australia Police (SAPOL) has resulted a Mount Gambier man being jailed for Abalone trafficking.
In December 2014, Christopher Phillips was found carrying 102 (mostly undersized) Abalone in his possession near Cape Douglas, well in excess of the daily limit. A subsequent search of his premises located an additional 108 abalone shells, many of which were undersized.
Appearing in the Adelaide Magistrates Court, Phillips was found guilty of possession and trafficking of a commercial quantity of Abalone in additional to other unrelated SAPOL matters.
He received a total sentence of 13 months and two weeks imprisonment (of which ten months and two weeks related directly to these fisheries offences), with a nine month non-parole period.
Phillips was ordered to pay $10,209 plus costs and has been prohibited from engaging in any fishing activity that involves the taking of Abalone for ten years. An assortment of dive gear and the Abalone was forfeited to the Crown.
Quotes attributable to PIRSA Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Operations, Peter Dietman
As you can see from the outcome of this case, trafficking a priority species of fish such as Abalone is a serious offence and carries fines of up to $100,000 and 4 years imprisonment
Fishers are asked to adhere to bag limits to preserve fish stocks for future generations.
We are also very grateful for the support and assistance provided by the Mount Gambier Police. Their work with PIRSA Fisheries Officers throughout this operation has been instrumental in achieving such an outcome.
Fishing boat, bag and size limits are available on the PIRSA website www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing
Illegal or suspicious fishing activity can be reported to the 24-hour Fishwatch hotline on 1800 065 522 or through the free SA Recreational Fishing Guide app available via www.pir.sa.gov.au/fishing/recfishingapp